Zimbabwe: AB Communications seeks radio broadcasting licence


AB Communications gave oral evidence at a public hearing supporting its application for a free-to-air national radio broadcasting licence. One of the company's directors, Supa Mandiwanzira, said their intention was to run a successful national commercial free-to-air radio station in the interest of Zimbabweans.

"Our programming will uphold national values and sovereignty and will respect national events, Zimbabwe's security concerns and economic interests," he said. "We will not allow our content to perpetrate hatred or denigrate citizens on grounds of politics, religion and ethnicity. Actually, we will celebrate the role of the people, dead or alive, who liberated the country."

AB Communications has four shareholders, Mandiwanzira who has 70 percent, Mr Herbert Nkala 15 percent, a South African partner Urban Brew Studios holds 10 percent and Molice Mandinyenya with five percent. It has three directors - Supa Mandiwanzira, Molice Mandinyenya and William Chingombe.

Zimbabwe Media Commission chairman, Dr Tafataona Mahoso asked what would happen in the event that Mr Mandiwanzira as the biggest shareholder decided for some reason to pull out.

"If for some reason I am pulling out, I will either sell the shares to fellow Zimbabweans or even donate them to charity," he said. "In fact, I do not see that happening. I have a passion for broadcasting and that is where my life is. I have worked hard to get this far, so I cannot just walk away. I cannot be the bulldozer that clears the way, but does not use it afterwards."

Mandiwanzira revealed that the shareholders would give 10 percent of their shares to employees as a way of empowering them. AB Communications becomes the fourth company to attend a public hearing after Zimpapers Talk Radio, Hot Media (Kiss FM) and Vox Media Productions (VOP).

"We will do that as part of our corporate social responsibility before we move to help other Zimbabweans," he said.

"We shall also assist musicians by supporting local content aggressively, taking them on road shows and helping them get royalties."

AB Communications would dedicate six hours of its broadcasting daily to the training of youths in broadcasting. It would create employment opportunities for many Zimbabweans, said Mandiwanzira.

He said his organisation had met the national policy requirements on indigenisation, as it was 90 percent Zimbabwean-owned with only 10 percent held by a South African partner.

If granted an operating licence, AB Communications will complete the installation of vital broadcasting equipment within seven months. The Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe requires the licenced companies to install the equipment in 15 to 18 months of getting the licence. Mandiwanzira said the company will be operating from Newlands in Harare.