Don't trust donors

HARARE - News that donors have dumped the London-based popular online news publication, SW Radio Africa, might have come as a surprise to the journalists who formed the organisation and their readers.

But to those who are in the know and whotherefore understand the operations of these international organisations, this was to be expected.

The move by donors does not come as a surprise if events of the past few months are anything to go by.

In recent months, and following Zanu PF’s controversial win in the 2013 elections, the donor community has been slowly disengaging from democratic values and have in fact actively participated for instance in the divisions that are rocking the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) today.

Donors are well known for using people and dumping them when the opportunity arises and SW Radio has fallen victim to the brutality of these shenanigans.

SW Radio had become one of the most reliable sources of information on Zimbabwe but August 10, it will cease to operate thanks to the decision by the donor community to abruptly cut funding.

What it simply means is that these donors are participating in the demise of democracy in Zimbabwe as they seemingly seek to engage with Zanu PF.

SW Radio had become a strong voice for democracy and was airing and publishing hard hitting news on Zimbabwe and for media diversity it was welcome because radio stations in the country are virtually controlled by Zanu PF or are owned by the party’s praise singers.

Since December, 2001, Zimbabweans had become accustomed to listening to alternative voices like SW Radio but all that is now gone, having been taken away from the people by donors’ new interests.

Even the European Union, from where most donors come from, are now leaning towards ostracising democratic forces in the country.

We have said it before and we will say it again. It is folly to depend on donor funds to run organisations, especially media houses.

We have media organisations in Zimbabwe being funded 90 percent by donors and in the process they throw away proper business models into the dustbins and end up for instance charging ridiculous amounts for advertising space because their losses will be covered for by donor funds.

But this is now changing. The strain in the donor-dependent media houses is now being felt. And the evidence is there for all to see — retrenchments, failure to pay salaries on time and closures of other arms of the business. This is the same way donors have dumped Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC. The donors are now demanding leadership changes in the MDC and they will also try and influence editorial policies.

This is the reason why at the Daily News, we have said no to donors. Media organisations must be run as businesses not flea markets as propounded by the donor community.

    Comments (6)

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    wtr - 7 August 2014

    Donors are well known for using people and dumping them when the opportunity arises. what then ?

    MOYO - 7 August 2014

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    fivestar - 7 August 2014

    Pamaipihwa mari maiti ma Donors masahwira edu chaivo chaivo, nhasi voramba nemari yavo makuti mavara azara ivhu

    Nyamhangambiri - 7 August 2014

    I for one will not miss the impending death of SW Radio..."PIDIGORI WAENDA, PIDIGORI WAENDA; ANGA ACHINYANYA KUVHAIRA", to quote one of Mukanya's old songs. I'll sing the same GOOD RIDDANCE TO BAD RUBBISH song when the UK & EU current ambassadors leave Zim very soon!!

    ZVOKWADI - 7 August 2014

    donors have sinister motives

    Stephen - 8 September 2014

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