Zanu PF says it wants to jam external radio stations broadcasting to Zimbabwe from the United States and the United Kingdom, although it claims to not currently have the technology or money to do so, according to the party’s spokesman.
Zanu PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo, told the VOA his party accuses Studio 7, SW Radio Africa and Voice of the People of promoting what he termed an “illegal regime change” agenda.
The radio stations, which provide news reports independent of government oversight, have been forced to broadcast from exile because of media restrictions in Zimbabwe.
Delegates at the recently-concluded Zanu PF conference called for the muzzling of these private radio stations ahead of elections next year.
Zanu PF head of Media, Science and Technology, Olivia Muchena, told delegates that it was particularly important to jam what she labeled “hostile foreign media in areas where state-run radio and television services are not available.”
Gumbo confirmed that his party wishes to jam these broadcasts, but claimed that Zanu PF does not have the capability to do so at this time.
“The technology that we have, whether it will be able to do that or not, is difficult to say,” Gumbo revealed.
Asked why Zanu PF officials agree to talk on the radio stations they accuse of being part of a western regime change agenda, Gumbo responded by saying: “I can boycott if you want me to boycott. I can boycott your station.”
Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe director, Andrew Moyse, said Zanu PF does not accept the concept of a free media and a democratic society.
Moyse called the effort to jam foreign broadcasts an attempt to suppress non-Zanu PF voices.
“It’s an intolerable nonsense. The fortunate part of it is that this is simply a party declaration … It’s not the policy of government and the government must resist such nonsense,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Zanu PF spokesman said the party will dedicate party funds to raise awareness and promote the new constitution and referendum, as soon as the draft is approved by Parliament.
Gumbo said the awareness campaign would focus on Zanu PF party members though declining to say exactly how much money the party would spend on the proposed campaign. Reports say it has set aside $600,000 for the campaign..
He said that at its annual conference which ended Sunday, Zanu PF resolved that any draft constitution must conform with the views of the people as expressed during the outreach phase of the constitution-making proces and the Second All Stakeholders Conference.
The party also resolved that if the constitution making process does not conclude before Christmas, party leader and President Robert Mugabe should dissolve parliament and call for elections under the current constitution