Malawi: Pirate Radio Owner Welcomes New Radio

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Gabriel Kondesi, the brains behind 'Pachikweza radio' of Soza village in Southern Malawi's Mulanje has welcomed news that the district would soon have a community radio, saying this was a fulfillment of his dream to have such a radio station in Mulanje.

Speaking through his father Jonasi, the aspiring broadcaster said he was happy that his idea of establishing a community radio in Mulanje has attracted the attention of other partners. Kondesi received a scholarship to continue his studies at Kaphuka Private School following closure of his radio station.

Kondesi's remarks follow a resolution made at a meeting of traditional leaders and representatives of various organizations including officials from the Mulanje District Assembly to have a community radio established in the district. The traditional leaders argued that community radios play a crucial role in spurring development.

The meeting followed closure of Pachikweza radio for operating without a license. In a bid to fulfill one of its objectives of promoting diversity in the broadcasting industry, MISA Malawi decided to facilitate formation of a legally instituted community radio in Mulanje.

Other quarters were, however, raising fears that Gabriel might not be happy with the idea of another community radio in the district. But in an interview with The Daily Times Friday, Gabriels' father, Jonas, said: "My son is very happy with the news that Mulanje will soon have a community radio. He even described this development as a dream comes true." Jonas was among the people who attended the consultative meeting in Mulanje. Other participants included six Traditional Authorities (T/As) led by senior chief Mabuka, representatives of Area Development Committees (ADCs) from the district and representatives of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs).

The consultative meeting was organized by the Malawi Chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) with funding from Australian Aids Fund Incorporated (AAFI), a charity organization based in Australia.

AAFI president Brian Haill recently pointed out that a community radio in the area would help government and different stakeholders fight the HIV/AIDS pandemic, promote agriculture, water and sanitation and other development endeavours.

Australian Aids Fund Incorporated currently supports

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