By Vumani Mthiyane
The Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services together with the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) embarked on an outreach programme to educate the Manama community in Gwanda on the community radio application process.
Addressing Ntepe-Manama Community Radio initiative board members and senior staff, traditional leaders, the business community and local villagers BAZ senior lawyer Joyce Kupukai said the licensing of community radio stations is in line with the constitutional provision of a three-tier broadcasting service.
“The law calls for a three-tier broadcasting service, namely the public broadcaster, commercial and the community radio broadcasting which we currently don’t have as a country.
“This is a non-profit making radio which is supposed to be owned and run by the community as a tool for development. We are here today to advice this community on how to apply for a radio license. Your application has to be submitted to BAZ before the 31st of July 2020 deadline,” Kupukai explained.
The visiting team also comprised of the Deputy Director in the Ministry of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services, Farai Makuvaza; BAZ Technical Engineer Mathias Chakanyuka, George Tariro from the finance department.
On technical specifications, Eng. Chakanyuka said the transmitters for Manama community radio will cover a wide area that will accommodate the entire Gwanda south especially the Sotho communities.
“We are going to allocate you two radio transmitters that will cover a wide area. On the western side from here, one transmitter will go as far as Legion in Kezi area while towards the south-east it stretches right up to Makado area.
“Therefore this does not mean this is a Manama community radio station only but shall service all nearby wards that are within the transmission radius,” said Eng. Chakanyuka adding that the government will provide all the equipment and training of community staff members.
On Financials, Tariro urged the board to come up with a 3-year sustainability plan that will convince the government that the initiative will be financially stable to operate without foreign funding.
Giving a vote of thanks, ward 17 Councillor, Ephraim Nyathi said the community is ready to run a community radio station.
“As a community, we are happy that the government recognised the BaSotho community when it was allocating frequency spectrums for community radio stations.
“This allotment comes at a good time considering that we have been waiting for this license for the past 10years,” said Cllr Nyathi.
Ntepe-Manama Community Radio programmes officer Siphathisiwe Ncube said their licence application is ready for submission to BAZ.
“Our application is ready for submission will all the necessary papers and the community has managed to raise the needed ZW$8.500 application fees,” said Ncube.
Ntepe-Manama Community Radio Initiative was formed in 2009 and been Broadcasting through various means such as podcasting, kombi casting, bulk SMSes, Facebook, Twitter and community meeting among other platforms.