Mutare, March 18, 2014 – Police on Tuesday charged an opposition party
member for contravening the country’s obnoxious broadcasting laws and
impounded his vehicle for committing the offence.
Police manning a roadblock in the eastern border city nabbed Irimayi
Mukwishu, the MDC-T losing candidate for Mutare North parliamentary
constituency and charged him with contravening Section 38 of the
Broadcasting Services Act Chapter 12:06. The police accused Mukwishu
of breaching the country’s laws by possessing a receiver which is not
authorised by a licence.
Under the country’s tough broadcasting laws, it is an offence to
possess and own a receiver which is not licenced by the state run
broadcaster, the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation.
The police impounded Mukwishu’s vehicle, a Toyota duet and “detained”
it at Mutare Central Police Station’s Traffic Section where they
recorded a warned and cautioned statement from the motorist who was
accompanied by his lawyer, Blessing Nyamaropa, of Zimbabwe Lawyers for
The intervention of Mukwishu’s lawyer who challenged the police powers
to seize his vehicle and prefer charges against him led to his release
and the police indicated that they will summon the motorist to stand
trial in court once they are ready to proceed with the matter while
the “detained” vehicle was also released.
Several Zimbabweans among them Harare West legislator Jessie Majome
have petitioned the country’s courts seeking an order to force the
state broadcaster to encrypt its signal so that it is only received by
those who wish to associate with its biased programming.
In her application, Majome argued that ZBC, which has enjoyed a three
decade long monopoly on broadcasting in the country, infringed her
rights. The court challenge came after ZBC licence inspectors visited
Majome’s residence demanding proof of a television licence which she
did not possess.
The ZBC monopoly has resulted in the proliferation of exiled radio and
television stations that have tried to fill in the information gap.