The conflict over Zambia’s Mkushi community radio station appears to has come to a hiatus point. A free speech advocate mediating the situation tells us via Twitter that the government’s attempt to dissolve Mkushi radio’s board of directors is no longer on the table.
@RadioSurvivor Mkushi radio board is not dissolved. Minister’s decision is null and void.
— Hellen Mwale (@gonereko) September 9, 2015
That’s journalist Hellen Mwale, chairperson for the Zambia chapter of MISA, the Media Institute for Southern Africa. As Radio Survivor earlier reported, members of Zambia’s ruling party “briefly interrupted” Mkushi’s operations in late August to express displeasure that a member of the opposition party sat on its board of directors. It’s unclear from news reports what kind of “interruption” took place. But then a member of Zambia’s parliament, Davies Chisopa, reportedly announced that he had dissolved the station’s board, presumably in his capacity as Central Province minister. I tried to contact Chisopa via email, but received no reply. In any event, Mwale says it isn’t so.
Chiospa, by the way, is a member of Zambia’s ruling political party, the Patriotic Front. It does seem difficult for a politician to resolve this matter of alleged board partisanship without the controversy becoming even more of a partisan issue.
The Mkushi Community Radio station appears to have been kickstarted by UNESCO as a venue for communication within the Mkushi district. Residents of the area speak Swaka-Lala and share a relatively small border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s southern panhandle.
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