GWERU – Zimbabwe Association of Community Radio Stations (Zacras) has pledged to continue exploiting all possible avenues for media reforms, dismissing claims by some sections of the government aligning the union to agencies of “regime change”, a senior official has said.
Vivienne Marara told the Daily News that community radio stations afford people a liberal platform for self-expression as opposed to political involvement.
She slammed the claims by government officials, citing efforts by her organisation to contribute to the nation’s growth using media tools.
“These are not fair accusations because our main thrust is working towards growth of Zimbabwe by empowering grassroots communities. Information is vital at all levels of our communities.”
Marara said misconceptions associated with Zacras’ source of funding have led critics to brand the organisation “agencies of regime change.”
“Community radio stations seek to develop participatory communities which freely express themselves. Our efforts are presenting to us a bright future as prospects for licensing increases with each day,” Marara said.
“Moreover donors supporting us prescribe to the notion that this is a critical and key area of improving our communities.”
Zacras said utterances by known government officials aim at building security walls against transparency and wedge a fight against the general populace’s desire to access vital information to spur community development.
“A just government should not be angered by the will of the people, to call for the repealing of legislations, it is not wrong that people demand for issues contrary to the State ideologies,” Marara said.
In a separate interview Zacras board chairperson, Gift Mambipiri encouraged the need to observe equality among Zimbabweans.
“On the contrary we are agencies of good governance our work and projects are manned and run by the Zimbabwe nationals with the same blood if not better than Charamba, Mugabe and Jonathan. We should observe that no one is superior to others constitutionally,” Mambipiri said adding: “All have made several attempts to down play development using words such a sovereignty, patriotism and indigenisation.”
Community radio stations’ initiative came to force a decade ago.
The vision which stalked is by stringent security measures is yet to break new grounds.
In the southern African bloc region South Africa, boasts of well over 100 community radio stations.
Mali has 86 such stations and Mozambique, Zambia and Tanzania are rapidly growing in community broadcasting, while Zimbabwe which is reportedly having capacity to licence 68 national radio stations has only two independent radio stations, ZiFM and Star FM.