THE people of Binga are excited about the digitisation programme, which will see the district, together with many others countrywide that had never received radio and TV signal, getting coverage.
An appreciative crowd from nearby villages in Manjolo and Siachilaba yesterday gathered at the Manjolo transmitter base station which is under construction.
The Minister of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Dr Christopher Mushohwe, deputy Sithokozile Mathuthu, Permanent Secretary George Charamba, directors and other officials visited the district to tour Manjolo transmitter, which will be 113m tall covering a 120km radius.
Traditional and local leaders commended Government saying the district would be able to receive local news as opposed to foreign signals from pirate radio stations.
Chief Sikalenge said: “There are a lot of programmes that will be done in Tonga and we are looking forward to the start of the stations.”
Chief Siachilaba-designate Nonah Mungombe who will be installed next week said: “We are happy because we have never received local signal here and now we will be updated on Government programmes. We commend the Government for this because we will now be treated equally like other districts and places like Bulawayo, Harare and Masvingo which have been favourably getting signal.
“We have been listening to radio from Zambia and we are grateful that we will soon have our own.”
Binga District Administrator Lydia Ndethi-Banda said Binga would now be able to contribute to the national agenda.
“We are very happy that this will now enable us to receive Government programmes first hand especially addresses from His Excellency,” Ndethi-Banda said.
Minister Mushohwe was mesmerised by Manjolo Choir which led the singing of the National Anthem.
The leader of the choir, Twapegwa Binga, said they were ready to deliver content enough to cover programming in Tonga.
“We can’t wait to be on air. We have been working hard and we are happy that the Government is moving in to empower us,” she said.
The Manjolo transmitter is one of 24 new stations that are being constructed countrywide, to add to the 24 old ones. It is the first to be built and Minister Mushohwe said it would be the first to be switched on.
From Manjolo, the delegation proceeded to Kamativi where digital broadcasting is already being demonstrated from Kamativi Police Station using two digital transmitters. Equipment at Kamativi was mounted on the existing transmitter.
Minister Mushohwe said Binga was fortunate to be the first district to be considered for digitalisation.
“Binga is fortunate to be the first. Yes, you may be connected on mobile network, but you need radio and TV.
“People of Binga have a rich history of the struggle as they crossed to Zambia to join the war while those from Bulawayo and Harare were going to school. For that they have to be rewarded by getting the first digital transmission,” he said.
After the tour, villagers were given grocery hampers.
Construction work will be finished on April 15, after which installation of digital equipment such as dishes and transmitters will begin. The transmitter will be switched on in two months.
Today the delegation will tour two transmitters, one at Chibondo in Hwange and another in Lupane.