Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation employs Ian Smith laws



Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation employs Ian Smith laws
Article by Zenzo Ncube (London)

The Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC), formed in 1980 at Zimbabwe’s independence still uses the same repressive laws of the 60’s and 70’s that were used by the Ian Smith regime to prevent radio presenters playing music considered by officials to be anti government in one way or the other.

This is the procedure that a presenter has to go through in this democratic state to play any music on all the sole broadcaster’s four radio stations in Zimbabwe: Go into the Library, select all the songs that you want to play, type them onto a programme sheet, supposedly for paying composers and other music rights costs, then take them to a senior presenter tasked with checking if presenter compiled any banned or anti government music.
It is then after a senior presenter, most of them war veterans has signed the music compilation, then a presenter can play their choice of music on air. It was a regulation before independence during the Ian Smith regime that any music that sang in support of the black majority rule was not allowed on air at any cost so was the situation is South Africa during the Apartheid era.
More to this those newsreaders who chose to work for the then Rhodesia Broadcasting Corporation (RBC) were forced to read a host of lies including in most cases the numbers of freedom fighters (comrades) who were being killed or captured by the Rhodesian army. This is now happening in Zimbabwe. It is a big shame to note that the same repressive laws once used by our oppressors are the same laws being used by our liberators to oppress us, the “liberated”.

As a result of these colonial procedures and rules most music about the social, political and economic injustices in Zimbabwe cannot be heard on Zimbabwe’s airwaves – despite the popularity of some of these songs, for instance “Bvuma” by Oliver Mtukudzi.
I am not suggesting that this is an anti Mugabe song. As the singer suggested in one journal, the people of Zimbabwe like in any other country are free to interpret a song in any way that befits them.

Of course Mukanya has been taken to task about his anti-government stance. I know him as a person who calls a spade a spade when it comes to political music compositions. Mukanya used to sing in the 70’s encouraging the youths to go into training camps to fight the settler regime (“Vanotumira vana kuhondo”). He was also imprisoned for his musical support for the struggle for Zimbabwe.

The country is in tatters, that is a fact. There are a host of other songs that have been shoved under the shelves of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation’s music libraries due to the message they are bound to spread. This off course is not the first time Robert Mugabe‘s achitects have prevented the people’s feelings being expressed through music.
Back in1984-5 at the height of the differences between the ruling Party Zanu (PF) and PF Zapu led by the late vice president Joshua Nkomo, ZBC directors most of them ex-combatants drove to the Radio 2 studios straight into the Mbare library. All recorded music by the youth wing choir (LMG choir) of PF ZAPU was confiscated and broken to pieces; hence a nick name ZANU BROADCASTING CORPORATION came up in Bulawayo which was the PF Zapu stronghold area.
The ZBC still remains the sole broadcaster in Zimbabwe despite calls from all sectors of the media to free the airwaves in Zimbabwe. 

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