Zacras,Amnesty International court rural folk in community radio licensing drive

By Tafadzwa Muranganwa

The Zimbabwe Association of Community Radio Stations(ZACRAS) and Amnesty International  are  not relenting in their efforts to ensure the expeditious licensing of community radio stations as witnessed by the recent  sports day  hosted in Seke rural for the belated World Radio Day celebrations.

The event was held on Saturday at Madamombe Primary School where scores of villagers gathered to watch soccer matches as dignitaries from the two organisations, other media stakeholders and the local  leadership  found  it worthwhile  to  tell the community the importance of licensing  community radio stations  for development and access to information.

According to ZACRAS director Vivienne Marara, community radio stations are a crucial medium in that they speak to issues biased towards   the communities they serve hence the need  for government to license them.

“Here in Seke you may have noted that there have been a few or no broadcasts  at all of issues that are affecting your community from the national radio stations  so  if we have community radio stations they will be able to articulate  problems affecting your area using your own dialects ,”addressed the ZACRAS  boss.

The theme for this year’s World Radio Day was ‘Dialogue,Tolerance and Peace’ which Amnesty  International Zimbabwe campaigns coordinator Roselina Muzerengi  says it aptly fits into the organisation’s quest to have community radio stations licensed to ensure this can be attained.

“As an organisation we are supporting the licensing  of community radio stations so that they can uphold  even this year’s theme of ‘dialogue, tolerance and peace’  and are also crucial in the preservation of human rights,” she said.

Seke   legislator Munyaradzi  Kashambe applauded the organisations for organising the event attributing that rural areas are  labelled as backwards because of lack of access to information.

“I am delighted you have come up with this event to tell the importance of community radio stations through   soccer which is a unifying game.

“Most of the times people refer rural areas as lagging behind and it is because they have limited   access to information so we are really behind the licensing of community radio stations which however, should not be influenced by outsiders who have ulterior motives,” explained the Seke MP.

A villager from Chanakira village who attended the sports day was delighted with the move to license community radio station after hearing what the medium can do in even promoting marketing of   agriculture produce.

“I did not think of radio as a marketer for some of our farm produce hear but after hearing what a community radio station can do I am now fully behind  licensing  this broadcasting sector,” revealed John Zhakata, a market gardener.

Meanwhile, the down-pour that fell on Saturday did not deter four soccer teams drawn from Seke namely New Strikers, Madamombe, Nyatsime  and Mapfuti  Gunners  to battle for honours with the ultimate winner  being the host Madamombe which was rewarded with a jersey kit  on top of prize money.

The other teams also got prize money and soccer balls donated by Amnesty and ZACRAS.

Madamombe Primary School which is former school of  Community Radio Harare(CORAH)’s director Givemore Chipere and the Seke legislator received a state of the art laptop for ICT classes with MP Kashambe  promising to donate another one.

Zimbabwe is the one of the few countries in Southern Africa that has not yet licensed community radio stations falling short on the regionally and internationally recommended 3-tier broadcasting system- public, private and community.