REGULATION & POLICY
Zimbabwe: State Radio and Television Stations Ordered to Play Zanu PF Jingles
Information and Publicity Minister Webster Shamu recently ordered all ZBC radio and television stations to play ZANU PF propaganda jingles, produced by him, at least twice every hour.
The jingles are from a compilation of eight songs on a CD that Shamu composed with Harare based outfit, Mbare Chimurenga choir. The CD, titled 'Nyatsoterera' (listen carefully) encourages Zimbabweans to rally behind Robert Mugabe and denounces the MDC-T party.
Shamu, ZANU PF's political commissar, reportedly supplied the CD's that were distributed to every DJ who works for the ZBC. Reports say Shamu has emphasized the regular play of one particular song called 'Ndikusetere team', which says the Zimbabwean team is headed by Mugabe, followed by Vice Presidents Joice Mujuru and John Nkomo and no one comes after the three.
On Friday, the two MDC formations blasted the state broadcaster for fanning disunity and eroding the good intentions of the inclusive government. Both parties said they would take up the issue with Shamu as there was no room for offensive jingles in the current political environment.
MDC-T MP and musician, Paul Madzore, whose own music and jingles have been banned on the country's airwaves, told us it was unethical for ZANU PF to use the public broadcaster to advance its position in the current inclusive government.
'It's unjustified and irresponsible behaviour by the ZBC to subject listeners and viewers, who pay them licences fees, to ZANU PF propaganda. ZBC is a public broadcaster who should know by now that there is an inclusive government whose partners should be treated equally,' Madzore said.
The MDC-T MP for Glen View is one of the best selling protest musicians in the country and was once imprisoned for 6 months when his electric music ripped through the airwaves, angering the ZANU PF regime.
The charismatic MP, whose live shows have also been banned, said his songs highlight the numerous problems that people face in Zimbabwe. He said the action by the state to ban his music and shows inevitably puts him in a rebellious state of mind.
'The good thing about music is it thrives even in the face of repression,' the MP said.
But there is no end in sight to ZANU PF's control of the airwaves and unless a real effort is made to allow private broadcasters, Zimbabweans will continue to suffer from one party's propaganda.