HomeLocal NewsMugabe, Tsvangirai showdown over licences

Mugabe, Tsvangirai showdown over licences

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Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai says he recently confronted his coalition government partners over the controversy surrounding the awarding of broadcasting licences to two players aligned to Zanu PF.

Addressing guests at the Zimbabwe ICT Achievers of the Year ceremony in Harare on Saturday, the PM said he would soon meet with the other principals – President Robert Mugabe and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara to resolve the matter.

Tsvangirai accused Zanu PF of being technophobic and determined to use all tactics possible to collapse the coalition government by throwing spanners in its works.

“In the recent past we have seen the closure of democratic space, closure of newspapers and recently you have all witnessed gross injustice in the awarding of radio licenses by an illegally constituted Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) Board,” he said.

“The decision by the BAZ board to grant two radio licences to Zimpapers and AB Communications is a farce that flies in the face of true media reforms and media plurality in Zimbabwe.”

Zimpapers is partly owned by government and openly supports Zanu PF while denigrating the party’s opponents including those in the coalition.

AB Communications is owned by former ZBC journalist-cum- businessman, Supa Mandiwanzira.

“The Principals to the Global Political Agreement are seized with this matter because we cannot continue to perpetuate injustice and exclusion of our people from the right to gather and communicate information,” Tsvangirai said.

“If the transitional arrangement were to be measured by the same yardstick, I am not sure if our inclusive government would also receive the Achievers Award tonight,” Tsvangirai said.

“The GPA has, however, not been a very successful story particularly because there are people determined to undermine the inclusive government for their selfish ends.

“So many gaps for fulfilling the letter and spirit of the agreement still remain,” he said.

“For fear of an informed citizenry, some have hindered progress in this critical sector and have made ICT sector stakeholders’ operations difficult, inhibiting ingenuity.

“Information is power, that is why autocratic regimes control the tools of communication.

“They plug, seek to control, monitor and seek to keep the people excluded from the circle of knowledge.”

ICT minister Nelson Chamisa said Zimbabweans should embrace latest technological developments.

“People should walk, talk and breathe ICTs and I am glad Cde (Joseph) Chinotimba is leading by example,” he said.

Chinotimba, who leads a rival faction of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association recently picketed Chamisa’s office demanding a laptop, which he was later given.

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