By Nhau Mangirazi
MOLA- The Broadcasting of Zimbabwe (BAZ) recently awarded community radio licenses around the country.The licenses were issued to Radio Bukalanga, Matobo Community Radio Trust, Chimanimani Community Radio Station, Vemuganga Community Radio Trust, Ndau Community Radio Trust, Twasumbuka Community Radio Trust and Madziwa Community Radio Trust.
Kariba district that was allocated a community radio station under Patsaka Nyaminyami community radio that is trading as Kasambabezi FM.It will cover nine urban and 12 rural wards of Kariba district within Mashonaland West province.
The station coordinator John Chirinda said the latest development will help in empowering communities to access information about themselves and their aspirations.
‘‘We welcome the latest move by BAZ as it will help communities to communicate amongst themselves in their own languages, cultures and local dialects including Tonga, Shangwa. The community radio has brought people together in terms of different sectors including youths, women, people living with disabilities.
“We will set up ward communities so that every story is covered. We are excited that the radio will be broadcasted in native languages like Tongas in different dialects as well as Shona dialects such as KoreKore Shangwes in Kasvisva, Musampakaruma in Kariba rural.
“We are thrilled that we will have a radio that will speak to us and it will teach us for community development. We are going to hear the correct drumming in terms of tradition and local culture,’’
He however said the latest development will help communities to engage with both private and public institutions to access information under Freedom of Information Act.
‘‘If citizens want to access information from councils, they will certainly use local languages such as Tonga or Shona requesting for that. Our community radio will be the ideal platform to empower communities about Freedom of Information Act and how it helps public institutions to be accountable to citizens’’ added Chirinda.
Hurungwe Community Radio board chairperson Joel Zilala congratulated Kariba district for leading the way in getting a community based lisence in the province.
‘‘We are happy that Kariba district through Patsaka Nyaminyami trading as Kasembebezi community radio will be propping community voices for development. It is a thrust as Hurungwe Community Radio that we will work hand in hand with them as we share the same vision of empowering communities about their own stories being told in local languages. We are happy as this a positive development for freeing of airwaves by the Government,’’ said Zilala.
Patsaka Nyaminyami board chairperson Stephen Murota based under Chief Negande welcomed the awarding of the radio license.
‘‘This is our hour of our happiness and joy as Kariba community. The community radio broadcasting license came at the right time as we need our local stories coming out from locals,’’ he said.
The community radio has been given 18 months to be on air.
‘‘We are hopeful to manage as community centered project for development. We want to the community to contribute towards all the needs of the station to avoid few people claiming or monopolistic tendencies.
‘‘It is part of employment creation for the locals as community structures will be set as soon as possible with each ward having a committee elected by the ward members.
‘‘These committees will all have representation on the following sectors as women, youth and people with disability,’’Murota added.
Zimbabweans have been pushing for community radio stations in a move aimed at availing local and developmental stories at lowest levels.