By Bulawayo Correspondent
GOVERNMENT has availed $180 000 for the setting up of community radio stations in cyclone hit Chimanimani as well as Binga and Beitbridge, Parliament has revealed.
Speaking at the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) organised broadcasting conference in Harare on Thursday, the acting chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Media, Information and Broadcasting Services, Settlement Chikwanya (MDC) said funding of the three community radio stations has already been approved by the parliament.
“Government is going to set up community radio stations in Binga, Chimanimani and Beitbridge. Chimanimani has been prioritised because of the cyclone which hit the area. If there was a community radio station in the area, the disaster which occurred there could have been minimised,” said Chikwinya.
Over 400 people were swept away while tens of thousands were left homeless after Cyclone Idai ripped through south-eastern Zimbabwe, leaving a trail of death and destruction.
Chikwinya said tropical cyclones have a tendency of repeating themselves hence the need to set up a radio station to disseminate information during disasters.
A funding partner has also been identified, according to Chikwinya but he would not give a name.
Chikwinya said Binga and Beitbridge have also been targeted because of poor reception for local radio stations.
“Most people in Binga listen to Zambian radio stations while a lot of people in Beitbridge listen to South African radio stations because there are no signals for local radio stations. With the setting up of these stations, the locals in these targeted areas will now be able to listen to a local radio station of their choice,” said Chikwinya.
However, some participants expressed their reservations on the role of government in setting up government stations.