MISA intervenes in ‘Emshiya kwe Seaka’ saga

‘MASENTLE MAKARA

QUTHING – A new-look Quthing Community Radio Station’s governing board will be elected before the end of this month. This following the intervention of the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Lesotho chapter, Quthing District Administrator, the incumbent station’s Board, Quthing community representatives, Quthing police together with currently suspended Station Manager.

The meeting was centered on the suspension of the station manager and the election of a new managing board. Quthing Community Radio Station, popularly known as “Mose-ho-Seaka”,  “Emshiya Kwe Seaka” or “Pheshakwe Qhili” was set up in 2017 through the assistance of MISA Lesotho, and serves diverse tribes forming the community of the Quthing district – and is one of other several community radio stations set up in Semonkong, Mokhotlong  and Thaba-Tseka.

It is part of the Access to Information (ATI) project, through establishment of Community Radio Stations (CRSs) supported by the Society Initiative in Southern Africa (OSISA) in 2015. In an interview with Public Eye Ntsukunyane said the intervention was a result of numerous letters of complaint received from Quthing community after visible within the radio station – divisions that spilled into the community it serves. “We felt obliged to intervene as MISA Lesotho as we initiated the establishment of this radio,” Ntsukunyane said, adding that in the main the suspension of the station manager appeared to be the reason for conflicts as circumstances surrounding his departure were not clear.

Though he could not be drawn into discussing details on the manager’s suspension, the MISA Director hinted “the misuse of the station’s money for personal gain and poor governance of the station are some of the reasons that come up quite a lot.” Another key issue of contention, this publication has established, is the legality of the incumbent governing board whose tenure in office expired in 2018, though they continued as the Board since the election of a new Board was not done as the station was off-air.

The meeting came up with four compulsory decisions:

  1. The election of a news governing Board before the end of the month of August.
  2. All decisions made by the outgoing board should remain valid.
  3. All the decisions made by the intervening structures were valid and of force.
  4. Members of the Quthing community be informed and kept abreast of all decisions arrived at on the matter.

Ntsukunyane said the new Board will have the powers to appoint a station manager, including the reappointment of the suspended manager or to rope in someone new altogether per provisions of the constitution.

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