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Mandiwanzira upbeat on radio licence

Journalist-cum entrepreneur, Supa Mandiwanzira is upbeat about his recently won broadcasting licence despite the criticism surrounding it.
The Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) last week announced that Mandiwanzira's AB Communications and Zimpapers were the recipients of the two free-to-air national commercial radio broadcasting licences, prompting an outrage from media organisations which dismissed the process as a farce.

The announcement met criticism from the Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa) among others who said the outcome was predictable given the constitution of BAZ, widely believed to be a Zanu PF front.

But Mandiwanzira yesterday [26 November 20011] said he did not understand why people, who did not contest were criticising his win yet those who lost congratulated him.

"John Masuku of VOP congratulated me but Misa is criticising me yet I employ its chairman Njabulo Ncube," Mandiwanzira said.

"If I am such a bad media owner, why is Njabulo not protesting by resigning from my Financial Gazzette where I am the chairman?

"For those who say there will be no diversity, do they watch Talking Business? Do they read The Patriot? Do they read the country's leading business weekly, the Financial Gazzette? Is the content the same?"

He said the content in all the outlets he has interests in will differ as does content in the various Zimpapers and Alpha Media Holdings' publications.

Mandiwanzira added that he has never declared the party he supports to anyone for people to start linking him with any political party.

"Who else deserves a licence other than me?" he said. "Am I not Zimbabwean? "For those who are basing their criticism on my being a former Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation journalist, SW Radio Africa's Jerry Jackson, VOP's Masuku and most Studio 7 staffers are also former ZBC employees and that is not a crime because ZBC was the only institution available to give us broadcasting experience.

"Those who think The Patriot, Zi FM or the Financial Gazzette should not exist simply because they are owned by Supa are enemies of the media." Mandiwanzira said he has worked for serious global news organisations and his reputation was unparalleled.

"Journalists should actually be happy that one of their own won the licence instead of writing negatively about me," he said.

"Politicians should have applied for licences if they wanted them and those who have complaints about the application and adjudication process should have complained when the process was underway, not when it has been completed.

"For those who missed the process, BAZ recorded everything on video and I am sure they can make that available to anyone who wishes to see what transpired."

He said his radio, which will be on air within six months, will do what will make him make money as a business person while being guided by continuous research into what the listeners want.

Mandiwanzira is the biggest shareholder in Zi FM with 70% followed by Hebert Nkala (15%), a South African company, Urban Brew, (10%) and Molice Mandinyenya (5%).