Africa

Zimbabwe's anti-Mugabe SW Radio Africa shuts down

  • 11 August 2014
  • From the section Africa
People listening to a radio in Zimbabwe
Image caption The government jammed some of the radio station's broadcasts

A radio station opposed to Zimbabwe's government has shut down after 13 years of broadcasting from the UK.

"Donor fatigue" had led to funding for SW Radio Africa drying up, its manager Gerry Jackson told the BBC.

The station was launched when President Robert Mugabe faced strong opposition to his rule from the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party.

After four years in coalition with the MDC, Mr Mugabe fended off his rivals and was re-elected to office last year.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Robert Mugabe, 90, has ruled since independence in 1980

Ms Jackson said the long crisis in Zimbabwe, and the "massive disarray" in the ranks of the MDC, had contributed to "donor fatigue".

The European Union (EU) had also decided to "re-engage with Mugabe and the ruling Zanu-PF party, which may have influenced some donors who do not want a critical voice out there", she added.

BBC World Service Africa editor Richard Hamilton says SW Radio Africa's final news bulletin, from an office outside London, was tinged with sadness.

Although the Zimbabwean government jammed some of its short wave broadcasts, SW Radio Africa still had its loyal listeners - estimated at one point at around one million, he says.

"We are gone so our voice is completely gone," Ms Jackson told the BBC.

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