Home » Legal and Judicial Affairs » Majome Concourt Challenge Mischievous – Govt

GOVERNMENT has described as mischievous, a Constitutional Court challenge filed by Harare West legislator Jessie Majome against the continued payment of listeners’ licences to the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation by citizens.

The government said this Wednesday while opposing the action by the top MDC-T official and former deputy minister of Justice.

Majome approached the Constitutional Court seeking an order to strike down provisions of the country’s broadcasting laws which compel citizens to pay listeners’ licences to the troubled broadcaster for as long as they own receivers.

Majome contends ZBC’s television station and four radio stations were all biased towards Zanu-PF and that they did not give MDC-T enough airspace in the election campaigns.

But government, in its opposing affidavit, accused Majome of harbouring intentions to cripple the troubled broadcaster, which has been struggling to pay its workers and to service its aging broadcasting equipment.

Through its lawyers, Mambosasa Legal Practitioners, government argues that Majome was approaching the courts with “dirty hands” having openly refused to pay the listener’s licence fees for two years.

The lawyers are acting on behalf of the Attorney General Minister of Media, Information and Broadcasting services the ZBC and the Minister of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs who are cited as respondents.

The government says the court challenge by Majome was “mischievous” and argues that the obligation to pay the fees was the same as that of paying tax.

It further says ZBC was a national broadcaster and licence fees were permissible at law.

Government also argues that Majome’s claims of bias by the State broadcaster had not been proven yet and dismisses the assertions as the applicant’s own belief.

Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Democracy Institute (ZDI) has defended Majome’s decision to challenge the licencing requirements, saying the ZBC’s biased reportage was there for all to see.

ZDI director Pedzisayi Ruhanya insisted it was a public secret ZBC was a Zanu PF mouth piece and insists the government must not even try to ask Majome to prove her claims.

“It does not even require Majome to see that ZBC is biased. The programming of the state broadcaster says it all,” said Ruhanya.

“That ZBC has over the years turned into a partisan and more specifically a ZANU PF broadcaster can only be disputed by drunken individuals. Its public information to every Zimbabwean who cares to look at it.”

Ruhanya says Majome was justified in taking her case up with the country’s highest court as opposed to placing her complaints with the government constituted Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) as was being suggested by government.

“Consequently, it becomes clear that BAZ that is controlled by ZANU PF ideologies would not be of assistance to Majome.

The only decent and honourable thing to do is to approach the court in order to put the issue on public record,” he said.

However, the judiciary as a compromised institution that largely serves the interests of ZANU PF would not be of significant assistance.”

Source : New Zimbabwe

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