By Nyashadzashe Ndoro | Nehanda Politics |
The Content Creators Network ZW has slammed President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government for awarding television station licences to the military. Last week the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) announced six winners of the licences on offer from a list of 14 applicants.
Nehanda Radio recently exposed attempts by Mnangagwa’s regime to hoodwink the international community into thinking they have implemented long demanded media reforms by issuing six new free-to-air TV licences when in fact the army is a shareholder in two of the stations.
The convenor of the Content Creators Network ZW Samm Farai Monro aka Comrade Fatso questioned the government on what kind of content a military controlled TV would offer.
“Our government is really the biggest comedian because this awarding of TV licences is a joke. They have awarded six TV licences to people who are regime enablers connected to the government and in certain cases even to the military, what TV channel are the soldiers going to run, what are they going to show us, military parades?, Comrade Fatso queried.
“This is really sad and unfortunately it is. With this scenario it means that we are not going to see content creators in the media sector in Zimbabwe growing.
“Unfortunately it’s just going to be continued censorship of content that goes to these new stations connected to the State and we are not going to see any new narratives or alternative voices.”
Those given licences either already hold print or radio licences like Zimpapers or are linked to the government. One of the licences went to Bulawayo-based Fairtalk Communications, which is in partnership with the military’s Rusununguko in running Skyz Metro FM.
Although Fairtalk shareholders Qhubani Moyo and Cont Mhlanga have insisted that the military has no shareholding in the TV station to be known as Ke Yona TV, Nehanda Radio was provided with an August 2014 document showing a joint venture agreement between the company and the army.
StyleStorm Communications (Private Limited), a body corporate sponsored by the Ministry of Defence and represented by Martin Rushwaya (its chairman) entered into a joint venture agreement with Mighty Sounds (Private Limited), represented by its chairman, Qhubani Moyo.
Officially the army via the Ministry of Defence has been granted a licence for its own TV station NRTV via its company Rusununguko. That same company already has a relationship with Fairtalk who on the face of it have been granted their own licence to run Ke Yona TV.
The Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) has continued to enjoy a radio and TV monopoly since 1980. All other companies who have received licences are either controlled by the government or owned by people linked to the ruling party.
Charles Sibanda, BAZ chairman said among those issued licences was Rusununguko Media (Pvt) Ltd, which is owned by the Ministry of Defence. It will trade as NRTV.
The Daily News, which now has the Minister of State for Harare Oliver Chidawu among its shareholders, was awarded a licence under Jester Media (Pvt) Limited and will trade as 3K TV.
The Zimbabwe Newspapers, which is majority-owned by the government through a trust and runs the country’s biggest newspapers and several radio stations, was also awarded a licence for its station, ZTN.
Acacia Media Group, owned by ex-Zanu PF Goromonzi South constituency aspirant Sharon Mugabe and Channel Dzimbahwe, which is fronted by former ZBC CEO Happison Muchechetere also won licences. Acacia will trade as Kumba TV whilst Channel Dzimbahwe will trade as Channel D.
Meanwhile, BAZ snubbed AB Communications, which is owned by Zanu PF’s Nyanga South MP Supa Mandiwanzira, who owns the radio station ZiFM Stereo. BAZ also threw away an application by the Heart & Soul TV owned by Trevor Ncube’s Alpha Media Holdings.
Ncube has been a supporter of Mnangagwa since a 2017 coup that ousted long-time leader Robert Mugabe, support which was rewarded with an appointment as a member of the Presidential Advisory Council.
NRTV – Army via Ministry of Defence
3K TV – Daily News and Oliver Chidawu (Zanu PF)
ZTN – Zimpapers (Government owned)
Kumba TV – Sharon Mugabe
Ke Yona TV – FairTalk and Army
Channel Dzimbahwe – Happison Muchechetere (former ZBC CEO).
Mnangagwa regime controlled applicants granted licences are Jester Media (Pvt) trading as 3KTV, Zimbabwe Newspapers (ZTN), Rusununguko Media (NRTV), Acacia Media Group (Kumba TV), Fairtalk Communications (Ke Yona TV) and Channel Dzimbabwe (Channel D). Nehanda Radio