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BAZ led by failures — MP

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The Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) is “a club of failures” whose members should be removed from office to pave way for democratic processes, Mbizo MP Settlement Chikwinya (MDC-T) has said.

Chikwinya said the nine BAZ members were appointed after failing interviews to choose Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) commissioners.

“How can you take people who have failed interviews to run ZMC and give them a free hand to lead another organisation without following due process?” asked Chikwinya.

The MP was addressing journalists at a Misa Zimbabwe “Press Speak” titled Broadcasting in Zimbabwe — Setting the Agenda for Reforms in 2012.

Chikwinya moved a motion in the House of Assembly last year to have the Tafataona Mahoso-led BAZ board removed from office to pave way for the
appointment of a new board.

He told reporters the BAZ appointments were made at a time parliamentarians were “sleeping on the job”.

“Misa Zimbabwe wrote to the Speaker of the House of Assembly (Lovemore Moyo) protesting against the process which the Minister of Information (Webster Shamu) was using to appoint members to the BAZ board and at that time there was no support from the legislators, we were sleeping and just hoping that the new guys would bring reforms,” said Chikwinya.

Although the motion to reconstitute BAZ was adopted in Parliament, Chikwinya expressed concern the Executive might not be moved to implement it.

The board has awarded two radio licences to organisations perceived to be sympathetic to Zanu PF — Zimpapers and ABC — the latter run by journalist-cum-businessman Supa Mandiwanzira.

“There is an assumption that the Legislature, Judiciary and the Executive should enjoy equal powers, but that is not the case in Zimbabwe. The adoption of the motion means little because the Executive can choose not to implement it and BAZ will thus remain in office,” he said.

Kwekwe lawyer Valentine Mutatu also said there was lack of political will to institute media reforms and urged court action to break the monopoly.

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