HARARE- Kiss FM which includes musician Oliver Mtukudzi reportedly lost its bid for a national radio licence after it submitted a plagiarised South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) technical plan as part of its bid document.
Sources who attended the public hearing said KISS-FM chairman Douglas Munatsi, director Sharon Mugabe and other top company executives failed to explain to the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe officials why their digital broadcasting overview sketch had the SABC name on it, instead of the name of their station – KISS-FM.
A BAZ official, who spoke to the state owned Herald newspaper and preferred anonymity, on Friday said it was clear the document had been copied from somewhere and they forgot to remove the name SABC in that document.
The source added that the KISS-FM team of Ms Mugabe, Mr Munatsi, Musi Khumalo, Oliver Mtukudzi and Tonderai Ndoro (Tony D) were caught “pants down” for what appeared like pure plagiarism.
“Musi Khumalo tried to explain that they were going to provide part of their signal to the SABC, but it was a pure disaster.
“You cannot be broadcasting in other countries when you apply for a terrestrial national commercial radio licence for Zimbabwe. It was clear she was lying through her teeth,” said the source.
A lady who attended the inquiry was heard strongly intimating that KISS-FM’s application was most likely an act of plagiarism.
“How can KISS-FM respond that the reference to SABC is an error? They forgot to delete the reference in their submission,” whispered the lady.
“This is plagiarism at its best, and a danger associated with copy and paste. You have to be clever to do that. This is not an original application by KISS-FM.”
An official at KISS-FM confirmed the document had been produced by their “consultant” Gelfand Kausiyo, a Zimbabwean who works for the technical department of the SABC in South Africa.
Kausiyo was present at the KISS-FM public hearing and could be seen passing notes to the presenters at regular intervals as they were being grilled by the BAZ board and members of the public.
Asked for comment Kiss-FM’s Tony D on Friday said: “We have no comment as the matter you are inquiring about is before the courts. We do not wish to be seen to prejudice or attempt to influence the honourable courts using the media or in any other manner.”
KISS-FM is now challenging the BAZ decision to deny them a licence at the Administrative Court. In its grounds of appeal KISS-FM argues that BAZ issued licences to applicants who had “Insufficient resources to establish and effectively operate a broadcasting service.
“The Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe erred in finding that the appellant’s application, which contained full particulars of the directors of the appellant was poorer than that of other applicants in circumstances where winning applicants’ did not have full particulars of the directors of the applicants,” says KISS-FM.
“BAZ erred in failing to take into account the fact that the financial resources of the other applicants were insufficient to enable them to establish and effectively operate a broadcasting service.”
BAZ awarded Zimbabwe Newspapers and AB Communications free-to-air broadcasting national radio licenses. AB Communications scored 99 out of 106 points, while Zimpapers got 93 points. KISS-FM scored 80 while Vox Media got 70.
Meanwhile a heated debate in parliament on Tuesday last week exposed how the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) awarded two commercial radio licences to companies and individuals with strong links to ZANU PF.
The MDC-T MP for Mbizo, Settlement Chikwinya, successfully brought forward a motion to parliament calling for the withdrawal of the radio licences given to the government owned Zimpapers’ Talk Radio and AB Communications, owned by journalist and ZANU PF sympathiser Supa Mandiwanzira.
On Tuesday there was heated debate to see if the motion had enough support from MP’s. Chikwinya’s motion also wants the current BAZ board to be dissolved because it was unilaterally appointed by ZANU PF’s Information Minister Webster Shamu in 2009. Predictably, ZANU PF MP’s are opposing this motion.
There was drama in parliament when Chikwinya accused BAZ chairman Tafataona Mahoso of being a dictator, working on behalf of another dictator in Mugabe.
“We have thieves and an illegal board sitting around issuing licences and we are not going to have a board that is going to give licences to clones of ZBC and a board which was unconstitutionally appointed. Mahoso executes strategies of a dictator on behalf of another dictator and he is far worse off than the President of Zimbabwe,” Chikwinya said.
Several ZANU PF MP’s stood up to object, demanding that Chikwinya withdraw his statement implying that Mugabe was a dictator. They even threatened to derail the whole debate if he did not withdraw it. The Deputy Speaker of Parliament Nomalanga Khumalo told Chikwinya to withdraw the statement and the MDC-T MP did so, under protest.
In his presentation Chikwinya described how Mahoso contributed lengthy articles to the state owned media. He even quoted ZANU PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo who once said Mahoso was “carrying out voluntary work for ZANU PF in public newspapers”.
Chikwenya went on to argue: “A member of the BAZ board, Susan Makore, is managing director at Mighty Movies, owned by Supa Mandiwanzira, who was issued with one of the licences under AB Communications and that is already a conflict of interest.”
He went on to say that other BAZ board members included retired soldier Colonel Reuben Mqwayi, Charity Moyo who was a ZANU PF youth while at university, and Vimbai Chivauram who presents ZBC programmes that are clearly in support of ZANU PF.
MDC-T Zaka Central MP Harrison Mudzuri supported Chikwinya’s motion and called on the Anti-Corruption Commission to investigate how BAZ was constituted. He argued that the whole charade exposed institutionalised corruption by the Minister of Media, Information and Publicity, Webster Shamu.
“One is forced to conclude the issuance of licences was a political gimmick meant to cheat SADC and the AU into believing that now the government was fulfilling provisions of the GPA to open up airwaves. The two (radio stations) would be handy propaganda tools during elections and it would be impossible to hold free and fair elections,” said Mudzuri.
Meanwhile Supa Mandiwanzira, whose company was given a radio licence, was seen by journalists at the ZANU PF conference in Bulawayo wearing a tag that said ‘delegate’. It’s being speculated that ZANU PF want him to stand as one of their parliamentary candidates in Nyanga South.
According to the state owned Manica Post newspaper, ZANU PF Secretary for Administration Didymus Mutasa also presented Mandiwanzira to the Nyanga South electorate at a constituency coordination meeting held at Sedze Business Centre in October. Another reason critics say, that explains why he was given a radio licence. The Herald/SW Radio Africa