The jubilation by music lovers who felt Mtukudzi’s involvement means an addition to other voices that have been stifled turned into cynicism when it became apparent that the star will be in a “technical partnership” with the state run Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings.
Itai Gwende wrote on Facebook: “The moment you mention that you are going into bed with ZBC you kill the credibilty and trust people might have wanted to give you. The free to air decoders all over are a testimony of the hatred people have for that corporation.”
Tuku’s proposed station, Kiss FM — in which he is co-owner along with former state broadcaster, Musi Khumalo, banker Douglas Munatsi, public relations icon Sharon Mugabe among others — appeared before the Media and Information Commission and the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe for a public inquiry in Harare this week.
Mtukudzi in an interview with a Zimbabwean daily dismissed the possibility the radio station could be used as an extension of the State propaganda machinery.
“We are independent,” Tuku said. “I can’t say our professionalism will be compromised by ZBC. Who knows, we may influence ZBC instead,” Mtukudzi said.
Tonderai Simbaradza felt Mtukudzi will be swallowed up: “What we see here is a good initiative that will start well then be swallowed by ZBC for obvious reasons. I stand to be corrected but I feel it is a mistake to be associated with those people. I wish Tuku well though I know he means well and he can be the better person when it comes at promoting Zimbabwean music.”
Fourteen companies applied for the two available radio licences and four were shortlisted. These Radio VOP Hot Media (Kiss FM), AB Communications and Zimpapers.