The Media Institute of Southern Africa Lesotho (MISA Lesotho) chapter has on the 20th December, 2017 successfully tested Quthing Community Radio station (QCR) as a move to kick start licensing process.
“I was almost losing hope that it will happen,” so said the Community Radio Station Steering Committee chairlady Ms. Anna Shale.
The radio station comes three years since the equipment was bought by MISA Lesotho under its Access to Information (ATI) through establishment of Community Radio Stations (CRSs) supported by Open Society Initiative in Southern Africa (OSISA) in 2015.
Shale had a good reason to lose hope. In 2015 just about six months into the project, the Government of Lesotho (GoL) issued a moratorium on issuance of broadcasting licenses under pretext that it was going to reform broadcasting law, while in some quarters high profiled GoL representatives were alleging that the project was meant to assist opposition to defeat the then ruling coalition government.
“Since you are my friend, I have to be honest with you. I am told that you are establishing these community radio stations to help opposition to win elections”, so said the most senior official to MISA Lesotho National Director at the official’s office a few days before the moratorium was issued.
During the moratorium MISA Lesotho and the three CRSs committees wrote several letters to the Lesotho Communications Authority (LCA) and ministers of communications in the previous and current coalition governments.
On the 30th June, 2017 MISA Lesotho and the current minister Joang Molapo stoke a deal to suspend the moratorium by the first quarter of 2018 and came as a surprise when at the MISA Lesotho’s website launch on the 12th December, 2017 the minister announced cabinet decision to suspend the moratorium.
The QCR also known as ”Mosa ho Seaka”, “Emshiya Kwe Seaka” or “Pheshakwe Qhili” because of serving a diverse tribes community of the Quthing district, is just but one of other two CRSs of Semonkong in the Maseru district and Mokhotlong district and they all under MISA Lesotho project.
The suspension caused MISA Lesotho to request no-cost extension for two times and the project is now set to end in March 2018. It is MISA Lesotho’s hope that the job will have been completed by the set date.