via Mandiwanzira set to expand empire – NewsDay Zimbabwe June 25, 2014
INFORMATION, Media and Broadcasting Services deputy minister Supa Mandiwanzira’s company, AB Communications, is set to consolidate its position in the broadcasting sector after the company’s bid to run new local commercial radio stations in Gweru and Masvingo went unchallenged.
Mandiwanzira, who is MP for Nyanga South (Zanu PF), also owns ZiFM Stereo — one of the country’s two private national radio stations licenced two years ago — although he is no longer involved in the day-to-day running of the companies following his appointment to government last year.
The Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) yesterday released a schedule of public hearings for applicants in Gweru, Masvingo and Zvishavane which shall be held from July 8 to July 10, 2014. The hearings were part of the country’s broadcasting liberalisation move to create a three-tier broadcasting environment. This will include public broadcaster (ZBC), private commercial broadcasters and community radio stations.
AB Communications stations Gogogoi FM and Faya FM were the only applicants for the Masvingo and Gweru licences respectively according to the released Baz schedule. Ray of Hope’s Ya FM is also the only applicant for the Zvishavane licence.
Mandiwanzira’s media empire also includes Mighty Movies — the largest private media production house — and Rainbow theatres, among the oldest movie houses in Harare.
Zimbabwe’s electronic media has been largely monopolised by the State since the pre-independence era.
The government has deliberately delayed licensing of private players even in the face of a 2000 Supreme Court order that ruled ZBC’s monopoly as unconstitutional.