Mzuzu, March 3: Government says it is high time Malawians, especially those living in rural areas, started having adequate access to information through various channels.
Vice President Khumbo Kachali made the remarks Saturday evening at the Mzuzu Hotel during a fundraising dinner the CCAP Synod of Livingstonia organised to raise funds for the purchase of computers, mixers and transmitters for Voice of Livingstonia (VOL) radio station.
Kachali said the coming up of VOL radio station would give the public an even coverage of news and events taking place across the country.
“I want to assure you that the current government is really committed to promoting access to information in rural areas, in particular. That’s why recently, government, through MACRA, gave out 14 radio licences,” he said.
He said that the current government would continue promoting freedom of expression and worship among its citizens.
“We in government believe that VOL has been commissioned to promote the spread of the Gospel as it is written in Mark 16, verse 15: Go into the world and preach the Gospel to the whole creation,” said Kachali.
He presented a K1 million cheque towards VOL fundraising from President Dr. Joyce Banda and K600, 000 from his pocket.
The Synod’s General Secretary, the Rev. Levi Nyondo hailed the current government for granting the Synod a national radio licence after the previous regime denied them.
“We have been praying and waiting for this radio licence for the past 10 years. The previous governments were not keen to grant us a broadcasting licence, probably on political grounds,” Nyondo said.
Commenting on the name “Voice of Livingstonia” which the past regime was not comfortable with, the Rev. Nyondo said some people deliberately associated the name with politics.
He said the name meant voicing out the word of God to the people.
Nyondo said the radio station was looking for K39 million for it to become fully operational.
He expressed optimism that the radio would soon be fully operational as it had already generated K15 million from its members in all congregations.
Earlier, VOL’s Board Chairperson, Jacob Nkhambule said the radio was geared to inform, educate and entertain Malawians with development programmes focussing on health, education, agriculture, climate change, HIV and AIDS, and governance, among other sectors.
“We will also run sponsored programmes. Government departments, parastatals, the private sector and individuals stand to benefit from this radio station through informative and educative programmes,” Nkhambule said.
The Synod conceived the idea to have a radio station in 2002, and an application for licence to MACRA was submitted in the same year. However, the licence was only issued in August 2012.
Currently, VOL can only be heard in Mzuzu and surrounding districts at 93.0 FM using a 500 watts transmitter, instead of three bigger transmitters (of at least 1 kilowatt) so that it can cover the whole country.