Kumakomo Community Radio Station (KCRS) last Saturday belatedly celebrated World Press Freedom Day in Mutare.
WPFD is commemorated every year on the 3rd of May nationwide .This year the celebrations ran under the theme, “ Keeping power in check, Media Justice and the Rule of law.”
Guests were drawn from its media partners, stakeholders, the community as well as some non-governmental organisations (NGOs). Among some of the main speakers who graced the occasion were Legal Resources Foundation, ZNFPC and a representative from the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists Manicaland chapter.
Giving their solidarity speeches, speaker after speaker spoke about the need for Government to open airwaves. Mannex Mauya a Ward 5 representative for Kumakomo said it is high time community radios are licensed, “ We recognise the fact that more players are being licensed but still not even one community radio has been licensed. The new dispensation need to do something about this and fast. What we are asking for is actually enshrined kin the constitution.” said Mauya.
Prudence Sauriri another ward 1 representative for Kumakomo said that women are the ones who are most affected when it comes to service delivery issues. “ The programmes that we do with Kumakomo community radio have helped authorities notice and take action. We have issues that do not get to national stations but licensing of community radios like Kumakomo will help get our issues out there” said Sauriri. She also added that reach is a bit minimal to communities at the moment as broadcast is mainly via internet and data is unaffordable for most people in their communities.
Other stakeholders like ZNFPC and Legal resources echoed the same sentiments and at the same time had an opportunity to let people know of their services they offer at their respective organisations.
Other esidents present said Government should license community radio stations not only in Mutare but the whole country as it has proved to be a necessary tool for community issues .
Suggestions around petitions demanding for licence were raised by community members with the station management also agreeable but cited that whatever measures to be taken to demand for licensing should be peaceful and through dialogue .
ZUJ representative Farai Matebvu said neighbouring countries like Mozambique and Zambia have community radio stations that are fully functional and properly licensed. “The same should also apply for Zimbabwe. Community radios are a tool of community development and Government should realise that and license them for diversity,” said Matebvu.