BY Tafadzwa Kachiko
The Zimbabwe Association of Community Radio Stations (Zacras) has called on the government to be sincere in its commitment to more license community radio stations in line with the “Zimbabwe is open for business” mantra.
Speaking on the sidelines of the belated World Radio Day commemorations done through sport at Madamombe Primary School in Seke on Saturday, Zacras programmes director Kudzai Kwangwari said they had met Information ministry secretary Ndavaningi Mangwana, who expressed government’s readiness to license community radio stations.
Kwangwari said government was sitting on 28 community radio initiatives that are awaiting registration.
“We have 28 community radio initiatives under Zacras that are awaiting licencing and last Tuesday, we held a seminar with the secretary Nick Mangwana, who indicated government’s preparedness to license community radio stations.
“That is a positive development, but we are now waiting for actualisation and that there are real licenced stations not pseudo community radio stations that are going to be set up by government,” he said.
He added: “Community radios are not set up by government, they are independent and owned by communities. Thus, communities are the ones which must establish them, so if the government is saying it is open for business; we feel that it must open channels of communication because these are important for business.
“We consider community radios as platforms that need to be respected. If government is open for business it must also open channels of communication.
“These community radio stations help in disseminating useful information. We have come to celebrate this day through soccer, which promotes unity among people from different social backgrounds.”
Seke legislator Munyaradzi Kashambe (Zanu PF) also advocated for the licencing of community radio stations, saying they help members of communities to make informed decisions.
“This lobby will go a long way in enlightening the rural folk. What makes the rural populace backward is that they lack information.
The stations will equip and acquaint them with political and socio-economic developments. People get to know what’s happening in their community,” he said.
“We want a liberal socio-economic mind-set where everyone makes a decision based on informed principles. We also need to protect our values, but without oppressing our people. They should have an open mind-set.”