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Roundup Bulletin No. 42 - 2011
Southern African Parliamentary Support Trust
December 14, 2011
of Assembly spent the whole sitting yesterday debating a motion
by Hon. Settlement Chikwinya (MDC-T Mbizo) calling for the dissolution
of the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) which he said was
improperly constituted. The motion further called for the cancellation
of the radio licences which BAZ recently awarded to Zimpapers’
Talk Radio and AB Communications. On the other hand, the Senate
debated and passed the 2012 national Budget.
of Assembly Plenary Proceedings:
of the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) Board
Chikwinya moved a motion in the House of Assembly calling for the
dissolution of the BAZ Board and the cancellation of the radio licences
that it recently awarded to Zimpapers’ Talk Radio and AB Communications.
He said the BAZ Board was improperly constituted and therefore ultra
vires the Broadcasting Services
Amendment Act (2007), in particular section 4, which provides
for the appointment of the BAZ Board by the President in consultation
with the parliamentary Standing Rules and Orders Committee (SROC).
He argued that the current BAZ Board was unilaterally appointed
by the Minster of Media, Information and Publicity, Hon. Webster
Shamu. He said this was in violation of the provisions of the Constitution
of Zimbabwe Amendment 19 and the Broadcasting Services Act as
amended in 2007. Thus he argued that the BAZ Board was illegitimate
and therefore the licences it issued to Talk Radio and AB Communications
were null and void.
further noted that the criterion used to appoint the current BAZ
Board Members was based on political considerations. He alleged
that most of the BAZ Board Members had strong links with ZANU PF
and therefore could not be expected to be professional in issuing
licences to applicants who were perceived as anti-ZANU PF. He further
alleged that Talk Radio and AB Communications got the licences mainly
because of their ZANU PF links. He also cited the issue of conflict
of interest as he alleged that some BAZ Board Members, notably Susan
Makore and Dr. Chagadama had direct interests in AB Communications
and Talk Radio, respectively. Hon. Chikwinya said Susan Makore was
a former ZBC senior staffer and was now working for Mighty Movies
Private Limited, whose subsidiary AB Communications was awarded
one of the radio licences. Hon. Chikwinya told the House that Dr.
Chagadama used to work for Zimbabwe Media Trust owned by Zimpapers
before his appointment to BAZ Board, the very same Board that awarded
a radio licence to Zimpapers’ Talk Radio. He argued that this
was a clear case of conflict of interest as the aforementioned Board
Members did not recuse themselves from the licensing process.
dismissed AB Communications as “ZBC clones” meant to
deceive the SADC and AU that Zimbabwe was fulfilling provisions
of Article 19 of the Global
Political Agreement (GPA). Section 19.1(a) of the GPA provides
that “the government shall ensure immediate processing by
the appropriate authorities of all applications for re-registration
and registration in terms of both the Broadcasting
Services Act as well as the Access
to Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
also lamented what he called the militarization of the BAZ Board.
He noted that two BAZ Board Members were army personnel, namely;
Retired Brigadier General Calisto Madzingira and Colonel Ruben Mqwayi.
He questioned what value the two military Board members brought
to BAZ other than to advance ZANU PF interests and to cement its
stranglehold on the air waves.
the motion, Hon. Harison Mudzuri argued that BAZ missed a golden
opportunity to regularize the operations of the “pirate radio
stations” operating outside the country, namely; Studio 7,
SW Radio, Radio
VOP etc as envisaged in the GPA. Sections 19.1(b) and 19.1(c)
(ii) of the GPA, which state as follows;
Zimbabwean nationals including those currently working for or running
external radio stations be encouraged to make applications for broadcasting
licences, in Zimbabwe, in terms of the law;
in recognition of the open media environment anticipated by this
Agreement, the Parties hereby:-
(i) call upon
the governments that are hosting and/or funding external radio stations
broadcasting into Zimbabwe to cease such hosting and funding; and
the Zimbabweans running or working for external radio stations broadcasting
into Zimbabwe to return to Zimbabwe. Hon. Mudzuri argued that despite
being short-listed as one of the 4 licence applicants, Radio VOP
was not awarded the licence purely on political grounds. He said
this was contrary to the spirit of the GPA as cited in the above-mentioned
The debate predictably
took a partisan path as MDC and ZANU PF Members toed entrenched
positions of their respective parties. ZANU PF Members who debated
the motion, notably Hon. Makhosini Hlongwane. Hon. Bright Matonga,
Hon. Kudakwashe Bhasikiti, dismissed arguments by MDC Members that
BAZ was illegitimately appointed by Minster Shamu without following
proper procedures as provided for in the Broadcasting Services Act.
They said BAZ Board Members were appointed through a process that
involved parliament. Members seemed to be confusing BAZ and the
Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC), whose members were appointed through
a parliamentary interview process, together with other Commissions
like the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) and the Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission (ZEC).
questioned the timing of the motion and argued that Hon. Chikwinya
should have moved it immediately after BAZ flighted an advertisement
calling for licence applications if he felt that BAZ was an illegitimate
body. He said MDC Members should urge BAZ to issue more licences
to other independent players instead of calling for the cancellation
of licences issued to Talk Radio and AB Communications. Hon. Bhasikiti
argued that MDC Members were raising this motion as an act of sour
grapes because applicants aligned to their party were not awarded
licences. Hon. Bhasikiti further argued that BAZ had to be strict
in vetting applicants so as to ensure that only applicants who could
defend national interests were awarded licences as there was a danger
that some independent radio and TV broadcasters could propagate
foreign interests like homosexuality.
ZANU PF Members
informed the House that BAZ Board Members, Susan Makore and Dr.
Chagadama did recuse themselves from the process of issuing licences
and therefore allegations of conflict of interest by Hon. Chikwinya
were not true.
Given the partisan
nature of the debate, it remains to be seen whether or not the House
will adopt the motion and compel the executive to reconstitute the
BAZ Board as provided for in the Section of the Broadcasting Services
Act (2007) and subsequently nullify the issuance of licences to
Talk Radio and AB Communications and institute a transparent process.
of the Clerk of Parliament
The motion by
Hon. Brian Tshuma calling for the dismissal of the Clerk of Parliament,
Mr. Austin Zvoma was not debated yesterday as had been anticipated.
It is likely to be debated today after Question and Answer Session.
The Senate debated
and passed the 2012
National Budget. The Minister of State Enterprises and Parastatals
Management, Hon. Gorden Moyo, presented the Budget in the Senate
on behalf of the Minister of Finance.
of International Agreements
The Senate ratified
the following Agreements:
Partnership Agreement (EPA) which was signed in Mauritius on 29th
August 2009 at a signing ceremony between the Eastern and Southern
- The European
Union (EU) and the International Coffee Agreement concluded in
London, United Kingdom on 28th September 2007 at the Conference
convened by the International Coffee Organization (ICO).
- The 2nd
Revised Cotonou Agreement and the Trade Agreement between the
Government of Zimbabwe and the Government of the State of Kuwait.
The Senate adjourned
to 28 February 2012. The House of Assembly is likely to adjourn
today for the Christmas holidays. The Speaker announced to the House
that committees would wind up their business this Thursday and resume
business on 16 January 2012.
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