Villagers in Habane under Zimbabwe’s Umzingwane constituency in Matabelelend South Province will now have the opportunity to receive and share information after MISA Zimbabwe launched an information kiosk in the area on July 28, 2015. More than 100 people among them government officials witnessed the official opening.
Speaking during the official opening of the Umzingwane Information Kiosk at Habane rural business centre, the MP for Umzingwane Honourable William Dhewa, commended MISA Zimbabwe for its “visionary and rural constituency-transforming initiative”. He said this would result in an informed citizenry empowered to participate in the country’s decision making process.
Hon. Dhewa is the Chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Media, Information and Broadcasting Services.
MISA -Zimbabwe through its Information Kiosks project seeks to promote the right to access to information through the provision of all the mainstream newspapers circulating in Zimbabwe. Members of the public simply visit the kiosks to read newspapers and other material available for their information.
The Umzingwane Information Kiosk is the sixth to be established by MISA-Zimbabwe. Similar facilities exist in Gweru, Gwanda, Masvingo, Mutare and Kariba.
Outlining the scope of the project, the MP paid tribute to MISA-Zimbabwe for the support it renders to Parliament and its longstanding relationship with the Committee, which he said, now extends to the rural people of Umzingwane.
He urged residents to utilise the facility saying this would assist in enhancing informed decision-making.
“We shall be receiving all the daily and weekly newspapers at this centre, from both the public and private media houses. This will assist the community to learn more about their environment and other areas as well. Maybe, as time moves, we here in Umzingwane might have our own radio station,” said Hon. Dhewa
“This kiosk will also be of use to those who undertake research work and with time, this facility will be equipped with WiFi and a software library. A television and radio will also be installed. This facility will be manned by an attendant. It will be free of charge and business hours will be from 8am to 5pm. If, one seeks an extension to use the facility, they can place a request with the attendant.”
MISA-Zimbabwe Vice Chairperson Lifaqane Nare, said the initiative would go a long way in leap-frogging the marginalised communities towards the information highway. She bemoaned the legacy of colonial (information) distribution network which served towns and cities only.
“It is common to hear that those who live in rural areas are disadvantaged as they do not partake in decision making roles nor they do they know what is happen around them. Most media houses send their newspapers to areas that are on the highway and those areas that are not, miss out or receive newspapers later.
From today onwards, Umzingwane will receive information and have the opportunity to discuss issues that affect them or influences their daily lives,” she said. MISA Zimbabwe National Director, Nhlanhla Ngwenya said access to information was vital as it enriched people and livened their lives.
“People regardless of location should not live in a vacuum. It is important to know what is happening in one’s society and beyond one’s borders. People should not be like mushrooms that breed in the dark, which is why we strive to spread information to all quarters., said Ngwenya