This was revealed in Parliament Wednesday by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai who was responding to questions by legislators during the inaugural session of the Prime Minister Question Time.
“I want to assure you that myself, his Excellency the President and Honourable Mutambara (Arthur), one of the critical interventions that we are looking at and that we have directed the Minister of Information to do is…that the broadcasting authority must be rectified, the board must be reconstituted,” he said.
Tsvangirai was responding a question by MDC-T MP for Mutare Central legislator Innocent Gonese who wanted to know what government was doing to end the state broadcaster’s (ZBC) monopoly on the airwaves.
The MDC leader also lashed at the ZimPapers stable for its current attempts to extend its media empire to the airwaves. Currently there is no law in Zimbabwe which prohibits cross ownership in the media.
“We cannot have a situation in which the same people who are controlling the print media want again to go into radio,” he said.
The Zimpapers Talk Radio is one of the four prospective broadcasters that include Radio VOP, AB Communications and KISS FM that were invited for public hearings by BAZ currently chaired by Tafataona Mahoso who is also the chief executive of the print regulatory authority, the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC). Radio VOP’s hearing, which is the last of the four, is expected to be heard on Friday.
BAZ intends to give two radio licenses and it is not yet clear what would happen if the current BAZ is disbanded.
Tsvangirai also defended his position in the wake of state media reports he was fighting for gay rights.
“My personal view does not matter,” he said, “The people of Zimbabwe are writing a constitution in which they want to define their society and who am I to question their wisdom if they want to put the issue of gay rights into the constitution,” he said in response to a question by MDC-T legislator for Bulawayo Central Dorcas Sibanda, who asked Tsvangirai to respond to press reports he was advocating for the inclusion of gay rights in the constitution.
“This is an elitist debate when people have no food, when people have no jobs, when people have so many problems. Diverting the real issue and put this issue at the focus of the nation is a real diversionary.”
Tsvangirai drew wild laughter from the house when he suggested, “perhaps I am speaking here kuda mumwe musi mungangodai muringochani panapa (we may be talking while some of you may be gays here). What you do in your private sphere is your private problem.”
Tsvangirai also said Zimbabwe should abandon its intransigent stance towards the new Libyan government which overthrew long serving leader Muammar Gaddafi in a fierce war.
“Circumstances dictate behaviour,” he said, “The situation in Libya has changed. I am sure that Zimbabwe is bound by AU position in spite of our own personal or party positions. I think it’s very clear that we ago with the AU position.”
Tsvangirai was responding to a question posed by MDC-T legislator for Nkulumane Thamsanqa Mahlangu who wanted to know what government’s position was in terms of accepting the new Libyan rulers.
Meanwhile, there was a lively atmosphere during the inaugural Prime Minister’s Question Time where legislators from both Zanu (PF) and MDC were given equal opportunity to throw questions at Tsvangirai.
In his opening remarks, Tsvangirai pleaded with MPs not to misconstrue the session as an “a war situation” among the rival parties.