Exclusive: Kwese TV distributor demands reversal of licence cancellation by government. Threatens legal action

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Techzim can exclusively reveal that the company distributing Kwese TV in Zimbabwe has written to the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) demanding that the cancellation of its licence be reversed within 24 hours.

Kwese TV in Zimbabwe is providing satellite television broadcasting through Dr Dish, a licensed (or not depending on who you think makes more sense ) operator. Last week, Kwese made its service available to customers before BAZ issued a statement the same day declaring the service illegal. Kwese TV then suspended operations the next day.

Techzim is in possession of the letter written to BAZ by Dr Dish lawyers who are demanding that the licence cancellation be retracted or government will have a legal battle on its hands.

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Dr Dish is also threatening to sue the BAZ CEO, Mr Obert Muganyura, in his personal capacity, for any loss in revenue that Kwese is suffering due to what it is referring to as an “illegal decision”.

“We are instructed to demand, as we hereby do, the retraction of your letter of 22 August 2017 within the next 24 hours, failing which, we have instructions to file an urgent application declaring the purported cancellation of our client’s licence to be unlawful,” says the letter in part.

We are reliably informed that the letter was delivered to BAZ on Friday, 25 August 2017.

The letter continues, “We also take this opportunity to notify you that we have received instructions to issue summons against you in your personal capacity for any damages that our client is suffering as a result of your illegal actions. Our client is currently calculating the damages based on the loss of revenue per day from the day you communicated your illegal decision thereby forcing them to stop business, to the day when your illegal decision will be set aside by the Courts. The law is clear that employees who cause damages to others by purporting to exercise powers that they do not have are not shielded from personal liability for their actions.”

Here’s a summary of what Dr. Dish explains as basis for the invalidity of BAZ’s licence cancellation:

  • According to the law the BAZ CEO has no legal authority to cancel licences.
  • Broadcasting licences are not restricted in terms of who provides the content and therefore BAZ cannot cancel the licence simply because the content provider changed from My TV Africa to Econet Media. The letter cites as an example the fact that DSTV distributes content supplied by several content providers.
  • BAZ is acting in bad faith as it was notified in October 2016 by Dr Dish of the change in content provider (plus that outstanding licence fees would be paid by Econet Media) and it had accepted this notification, only to  turn around last week ‘pretending’ it had not accepted the developments.
  • The licence cancellation is irrational because the Kwese TV content “is much cheaper and is payable locally using bond notes and RTGS money, and thus much more favorable to the consumer. “
  • The cancellation shows bias/discrimination and is a violation of Kwese’s “freedom of expression and of the media, and that of the public generally.”
  • It is biased against Kwese while favouring DStv and internet content providers such as YouTube, WhatsApp and Twitter who don’t pay any licences to ‘broadcast’ content in Zimbabwe.

The 12 page letter also dedicates a good portion to explaining why DStv is bad for Zimbabweans. We’re posting that in a separate article in the interest of keeping this one short and readable, as well so that it can be referenced easily separately in the future.

It is noteworthy that the Dr Dish lawyers in this case are Mtetwa & Nyambirai Legal Practitioners and that specifically, the letter to BAZ was written by Tawanda Nyambirai. Readers will know therefore that these lawyers are representing Dr Dish only in as far as Dr Dish are the licence holders. For all intents and purposes, this is Econet Wireless, or just plainly, Strive Masiyiwa, commencing a legal battle against the government of Zimbabwe.

It is also good to note that Tawanda Nyambirai led part of the memorable legal battle Strive Masiyiwa fought against the Zim government in the 90s to establish Econet Wireless Zimbabwe. Masiyiwa once said that Nyambirai “has one of the finest legal minds” in the world.

Image credit: Rodger Bosch for APP, Some rights reserved

Strive Masiyiwa (born 1961) is an entrepreneur, and philanthropist. He is the founder and chairman of global telecommunications group, Econet Wireless International. In 2002, Masiyiwa was named to the Time Magazine List of Most Influential People, and in March 2014, ... Read More

Tawanda Nyambirai is a celebrated Zimbabwean born businessman-cum-lawyer who rose to fame through his renowned TN Holdings Limited business empire and other strategic partnerships. His fame was further catapulted by his business alliance with the giant international telecoms operator Econet ... Read More

Kwese TV is a Zimbabwean satellite and broadcasting network owned by Econet Wireless Zimbabwe, under Econet Media. On 23 August 2017, Econet Media announced that Kwese TV was now available in Zimbabwe and that decoders were available at Econet Shops. ... Read More

14 Comments

  1. PROUDLY ZIMBABWEAN!! says:

    Kwese TV has a sound legal standing to dispute the BAZ rejection and the fact that their actually taking legal action says a whole lot in terms of readiness by the Kwese TV Board that nothing goes unseen and unprepared for in terms of a goal and a vision …this is typical of a team ready to set ground and make waves not only in our beautiful nation but in Africa as a whole …PROUDLY ZIMBABWEAN!! As one you should be too……

  2. Ngonidzashe Mhuruye says:

    Zvatanga..handei tione!

  3. Truth says:

    i am sure this was arrived at with the forthcoming elections in mind.

  4. Truth says:

    i am sure this was done with the forthcoming elections in mind.

  5. I need update of this issues

  6. Ignatious Dingindawo Nqindi says:

    I was just waiting for this to happen, when ever someone does something positive you always find hater/s showing off their evilness. Zimbabwe has a problem of evil jealousy beings.

  7. Taraz says:

    For the record, Beatrice Mtetwa too (not just Nyambirai) was also in the same legal team with Nyambirai, fighting Econet’s earlier battles

  8. Zvavo vamwe says:

    Kwesé TV Africa’s New Pay TV Network Has Launched in Botswana

    Publishing Date : 28 August, 2017- Weekend Post

    Author :

    Gaborone, 25 August 2017: Pan-African pay TV network Kwesé TV yesterday (Friday) launched its satellite broadcasting service which will deliver Kwesé’s full-suite entertainment and sports content to Batswana households across the country.

    This launch brings to Botswana the very best in premium entertainment, international and African series, and award-winning children’s entertainment channels as well as up to-the-minute news and something for the entire family. Batswana were first introduced to Kwesé with the launch of the broadcaster’s free-to-air channel Kwesé Free Sports in Gaborone in March this year. The broadcaster is now extending its presence in the market by unveiling the complete Kwese TV experience introducing viewers to a whole new world of entertainment and sports which includes exclusive third-party channels, first-to-market content and original programming.

    Kwesé’s multi-platform offering cuts across linear, mobile and digital making its content accessible through free-to-air TV, mobile, web streaming and satellite TV. This game changing broadcaster will make its premium content accessible to viewers through a competitively priced 295 BWP for a monthly subscription and a fee of 510 BWP for a decoder, dish kit and standard installation fee. Commenting on the launch, General Manager at Kwesé TV Goabaone Kgosana said, “Batswana have been hungry for an alternative and we believe we have the answer with our programming bouquet which speaks to every viewing appetite and budget.”

    “As a business premised on making premium content accessible, we have also made our service available at varying price points by pioneering ‘pay-as-you-watch’ subscription packages which enable consumers to purchase seven and three day passes, at 88 BWP and 50 BWP respectively,” added Kgosana. The launch of this pay TV network marks the introduction of Kwesé’s full entertainment and sports bouquet. Since inception, Kwesé has built up a compelling entertainment programme offering that includes exclusive third party channels such as the youth centric lifestyle and culture channel VICELAND from VICE Media and Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs’ engaging music and entertainment channel REVOLT TV amongst others.

    The broadcaster has also gathered the very best in news content from CNN International, Sky News, Africa News, and Al Jazeera to name a few. Not to mention an impressive collection of wholesome children’s entertainment content which includes the exclusive Toonami channel from Turner, popular animation series and movies from NBCUniversal International Network’s DreamWorks, award-winning pre-school channel CBeebies along with an additional five kids’ channels. These exciting channels will broadcast alongside an extensive list of well-known and first to market channels and Kwesé’s eight owned channels.

    Kwesé’s sports portfolio boasts an exceptional selection of sporting rights including the Premier League, the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia, full NBA coverage, exclusive ESPN content and so much more. Join the movement by visiting a Kwesé branded store near you, buy and install the Kwesé decoder in your home and unlock world class programming at your fingertips. Subscriptions can be paid online or over the counter at all Botswana Post outlets across the country.

    A subsidiary company of the globally networked Econet Group founded by Executive Chairman Strive Masiyiwa, Econet Media is a dynamic content business driving the development of Kwesé, a fresh new television brand. Created for Sub-Saharan African audiences, Kwesé is inspired by the ‘TV everywhere’ revolution. As such, a range of Kwesé products will be made available on satellite and internet based platforms, including video-on-demand and mobile options. Focused on providing premium, affordable, exclusive viewing, Kwesé products will offer sports, music, movies, series, kids, lifestyle, faith, news and other programming.

    Consumers will also benefit from the infrastructural strength of Econet Media sister companies, Liquid Telecom and Econet Wireless. Their expertise and capacity in the areas of mobile and fixed telephony services, broadband, internet, satellite and fibre optic networks will be utilized to establish Kwesé products. In addition, Econet Media has invested intensively to build its own operational assets.

  9. jabulani sibanda says:

    Am not a legal fundi but I guess there is some merit on what Dr Dish is saying. Let the battle begin.

  10. Zukwa says:

    If zanu pf totally reject Kwese to go live, i guese people in Zim can register in neighboring countries, just like what is happening with DSTV and use the service in zimbabwe. I wonder what is ZANU pf scared of. Kwese does not have any local news channel, how are they going to affect ZBC propaganda machinery?

  11. Ndlovu says:

    Kwese might be considered after the elections

  12. Wessie says:

    If I were leader in Government, I would have negotiated with Kwese as a condition of granting the license – set up factory for manufacturing the set top boxes in Zimbabwe for distribution locally and in countries where Kwese is a player. This would have equated to Employment Creation + Forex generation. It shows the level of thinking the current crop of leadership possesses.

  13. Dawn says:

    One moment its dstv is taking too much forex out of Zw,next its no to Kwese !

  14. Anonymous says:

    In favour to kwese.this is a new development in our country to own our own international television. Open your eyes you corrupt people.

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