Maputo — A community radio station in central Mozambique, shut down on Friday allegedly on the orders of the local mayor, re-opened on Monday according to a report in the independent daily newsheet "Mediafax".
The Macequece community radio, owned by the Macequece Community Association of Manica (ACOMAM), broadcasts in Manica Town, and the radio's editor, Arlindo Francisco claims that the order to take the radio off the air came from the mayor of Manica, Moguene Candieiro, although the mayor vigorously denies the claim.
The interference of the mayor "could at no time be accepted, because the radio belongs to the community and not to the Municipal Council", said Francisco. It is believed that Candieiro ordered the closure, because the radio declined to broadcast political messages that he wanted transmitted.
Francisco said that the radio reopened after lengthy meetings between the radio managers and municipal officials.
But Candieiro gives a different version of events. He blamed the closure on conflict within ACOMAM. "We sent the police to protect the radio, because there's a war between the associates", he claimed. "I didn't order the closure. Who am I to order a radio to shut down?"
He predicted on Friday – accurately as it turned out – that the radio would re-open on Monday "because the associates have sat down and discussed the matters that divide them".
Francisco, however, denied there was any such internal dispute. "There's no friction between the associates", he said. "There was in the past, but the matter was overcome a long time ago".
He claimed that the person who created discord in the past had left and was now involved with the mayor in intrigues against the radio station. "What is happened is that the politicians want to interfere in the radio and we won't let them", said Francisco
The Community Radio Forum (FORCOM) sent a delegation, headed by its President, Joao dos Santos Jeronimo, to Manica at the weekend to investigate. The district police commander, Anito Machava, told them he had received orders from the mayor to close the radio because there was a demonstration taking place at its premises. But when the commander went there personally, he could see no sign of any demonstration.
(Source : allAfrica.com)