Minister commissions first Binga radio station Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Dr Jenfan Muswere goes live on air during the commissioning of Twasumpuka FM community radio station in Binga yesterday

Bulawayo Bureau

INFORMATION, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister, Dr Jenfan Muswere, yesterday officially commissioned Twasumpuka FM, the first and only community radio station in Binga District in Matabeleland North province, buttressing the Second Republic’s ongoing drive to foster inclusive development through promoting freedom of expression and enhancing access to information.

The new radio station is situated in Binga Town and broadcasts 75 percent in Tonga and 25 percent in other languages within a 40km radius. It is one of the seven community radio stations licenced by the Government in Matabeleland provinces.

It’s establishment amplifies the quest for liberalisation of the airwaves and heritage-based broadcasting through community radio stations, which is key in fighting disinformation and fake news while integrating local communities to mainstream development programmes, working closely with the Government.

Dr Muswere, who was guest of honour at the colourful event, addressed the Binga community live on radio and those gathered for the festivities at the Govera area in Binga town where the station is situated.

Earlier, the Minister conducted a tour of the facility and cut a ribbon revealing a plaque to mark the officially commissioning of the station, one of the 14 community radio stations that were licensed by the Second Republic across the country.

He said heritage-based broadcasting was being promoted through community radio stations to preserve culture and indigenous languages and inform the nation of Government projects as part of the development matrix.

“As I am in Binga today this should reflect on heritage-based broadcasting services, as we seek to ensure that we protect our languages in terms of broadcasting.

“So, heritage broadcasting is part and parcel of the New Dispensation in terms of our achievements as a Government to protect our local languages,” said Dr Muswere.

“But at the same time this is part of the communication strategy for us as a Government to educate the nation and inform the nation and also to entertain all people from Binga District.

“This is part of the achievements of media reforms as we have licenced currently 14 community radio stations.”

The Minister urged the Binga community to take advantage of the Twasumpuka FM presence to highlight the challenges they are facing and showcase their strides.

“This is also an opportunity for problem solving as we work together in all tiers of Government.

“It’s also part of an opportunity and entrepreneurs to provide solutions,” he added.

“There are significant changes that have been brought about by the New Dispensation, which also includes the liberalisation of airwaves, the licensing of a number of new print and broadcasting media outlets for us to be able to communicate to each and every jurisdiction.”

In the era of social media dominance, Dr Muswere said the commissioning of the new radio station comes at a time when disinformation and fake news were rife in society, hence stations like Twasumpuka FM were introduced so that people at grass root level are well informed about genuine Government development projects.

“The biggest challenge that we have been having is the disinformation about what is taking place across the country. But this radio station is also going to ensure that we are going to counter fake news, social media imperialism, or religious imperialism,” he said.

“To able to report, to gather, or acquire factual news in Binga District, this provides an opportunity as a people to share information in all districts.

“This also enables us through the national platform as Government to provide national news of significance to community radio stations as we should be able to work together as masters of our destiny to contribute to social economic landscape of our country.”

Guided by President Mnangagwa’s philosophy: “Nyika inovakwa nevene vayo/Ilizwe lakhiwa ngabanikazi balo”, Dr Muswere told the large gathering, which included the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry Mr Nick Mangwana, senior Government officials and scores of residents and villagers, that each and every citizen has a pivotal role to play in the reconstruction of the country by contributing to economic, social and political development.

He said Twasumpuka FM has come in handy in helping educate primary and secondary schoolchildren, offering the business community a platform to advertise and the health sector to notify the public about pandemics and epidemics that might be affecting the country.

Matabeleland North Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Cde Richard Moyo, in a speech read on his behalf by Binga District Coordinator, Mr Land Kabome, said Twasumpuka FM was pivotal in sharing information about culture and development.

“We will get information about our valued culture and norms that we cherish as a district. As a province and a district in particular we welcome Twasumpuka as a radio station,” he said.

“We have a lot of developmental initiatives done by the President and these will be aired through the radio station. We have the Siabuwa-Karoi Road, the Bulawayo Kraal Irrigation Scheme, the school of nursing, the local board, the polytechnic, the ambulances that were given to the community and a number of projects that were initiated by the President,” said Minister Moyo.

Twasumpuka Community Radio Trust board chairman Mr Samson Sibanda said the radio station has come a long way and thanked the Second Republic led by President Mnangagwa for its continued support.

“The President has made the Tonga people great. A step ahead in the quest for Vision 2030,” said Mr Sibanda.

“Binga today has benefited in terms of access to information and development. Let me say, that, words alone are insufficient to express this gratitude, mainly to identify the need for community radio stations in Zimbabwe, particularly in Binga.”

Twasumpuka FM was registered in 2014, and licenced in November 2021 before commencing broadcasting online the same year. Community radio stations play a critical role at grassroots level hence the station has been challenged to harness more content as possible as well as package more helpful programmes.

By supporting a robust rollout of community radio stations licensing, Zimbabwe is fulfilling its promise to broaden access to information for the benefit of citizens.

The Second Republic has been commended for recognising the importance of pushing development from the grassroots level while also preserving, language, culture and heritage.

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