SUSPECTED hired participants on the first day of the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) public hearings for stations vying for Bulawayo’s single commercial radio licence on offer on Tuesday sought to discredit the personal life of one applicant.
Fair Talk Communications (Pvt) Ltd, trading as Skyz Metro FM, presented first for the coveted licence, but participants took a dig at renowned playwright Cont Mhlanga, the Amakhosi Cultural Centre executive director, during the plenary session.
“In 2008, Mhlanga contested as an independent candidate in local government elections in Lupane and won. However, the same Mhlanga soon dumped the community. He failed to run a village and now wants to operate a provincial radio station.
What guarantee is there that Mhlanga will not ditch the station?” one participant asked.
Another said Mhlanga oversaw the alleged collapse of Amakhosi Centre and never produced artists of repute, but fired “everyone he worked with”. They said Mhlanga would implement the same managerial skills at the station.
However, Skyz Metro FM chief executive officer Qhubani Moyo spiritedly dismissed the participants saying their views bordered on mischief.
“We have been expecting such kind of contributions, but this is mischief at its highest order.
“Mhlanga’s lifetime contribution to the arts industry in the region and country cannot be wished away by a mere dot in his brief life. We find this mischievous,” he said.
Unsatisfied with Moyo’s response, other participants complained to BAZ officials that Moyo was intimidating them.
There was, however, minimum heckling during Skies Radio (Pvt) Ltd’s presentation as the number of public participants had reduced fuelling speculation that those that left were part of a rented crowd.
Skies Radio (Pvt) Ltd appeared agitated as BAZ officials poked holes into their firm’s submissions.
BAZ officials repeatedly queried why Skies Radio (Pvt) Ltd’s presentation had several inconstancies from those initially submitted.
These centred on Ezra Sibanda, who was initially listed as one of the directors, but his name was missing on other documents.
“The new document is littered with Sibanda’s name. In fact, his name is generously used in the new report.
“What is Sibanda’s status in the company?” queried BAZ commissioner Charity Moyo.