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Zimbabwe's Parliament Told It Has No Mandate to Discuss Controversial Broadcasting Body

George Charamba told parliament it has no mandate to discuss or question the work of the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe

Zimbabwean lawmakers were this week told that they have no mandate to discuss or question the work of the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe.

Information secretary George Charamba told parliament questioning the controversial board would be tantamount to interfering with the Executive.

He said BAZ can only be questioned by the executive and the judiciary after speaker Lovemore Moyo and others in the two Movement for Democratic Change formations challenged the body’s recent decision to award radio licenses to entities closely linked to President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF.

The two MDC's say the body is not properly constituted.

Charamba said parliament, through its Standing Rules and Orders Committee is mandated by law to provide board nominations but failed to forward names after the Speaker missed the 30-day deadline, leaving the ministry under law to provide for that.

He said unlike the Zimbabwe Media Commission, the BAZ is not a constitutional board, adding, that "BAZ is an instrument for the executive, its perceived demeanor's can never be a matter for parliament because parliament created the law a long time ago and their role ended.”

But information deputy minister Murisi Zwizwai of the Tsvangirai MDC refutes Charamba’s claims saying he’s misleading himself as well as the people on the mandate of parliament.

Executive officer Leonard Makombe of the Parliamentary Monitoring Trust says lawmakers failed to correctly address the appointment of the authority’s board.