Are there any good reasons why Kwese should not be licenced?

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So we finally got Kwese but only for less than a day. The Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) just had to clip it’s wings. What does not make sense in this whole debacle is that Econet actually announced that decoders were on sale at their shops. Would they have done that knowing that they did not have a licence? I doubt that. It all seems like BAZ switched tables on them, but that’s all speculation.

BAZ sounded proud in their pronouncement that no new licence had been issued. They were almost bragging that whatever licence was there had been cancelled too. We won’t presume to know everything they look at before issuing new licences because we suspect that some of the things are not above board. We really wonder what reasons BAZ has in this case. Let us instead discuss why it makes sense to licence Kwese.

Encouraging Investment in Zimbabwe

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We have heard Finance ministers becry the lack of investment in this country. This economy of ours is in desperate need of investment. We have engaged foreign businessmen, some Chinese and some Nigerian, to boost that elusive Foreign Direct Investment. Now we have our very own son knocking on the door and holding a chest of gold to invest in this country and we are turning him away. Are we in a position to turn down investment in the country? It depends, doesn’t it?

Employment opportunities for Zimbabweans

For a country with an unemployment rate of over 95% it’s rather strange that we would turn down an investor promising jobs to Zimbabweans. Kwese if licenced will hire a lot of people, to install, to sell and all kinds of jobs. The Technites especially are hardest hit by the BAZ announcement. Even if only 5 people were going to get jobs, it’s still 5 Zimbabweans getting jobs. We could move from 95.8% unemployment rate to 95.79%. Who wouldn’t want that.

More tax revenue for the government

This one is a no-brainer. Kwese will need to pay taxes and that will only swell the government’s coffers. The government has had to cut on capital spending for example, to be able to cover public service salaries. The government has been looking for additional revenue sources and one has just knocked on the door.

Value for customers from increased competition

Luxury or not, we Zimbabweans love our entertainment. For a long time now we have only ever had one source for that entertainment. DStv is a monopoly in my book. Our government says they hate monopolies but constantly fight off competition for DStv. We need a new player in this sector and I wonder what the guys at the Competition and Tariff Commission are up to these days, besides trying to fix their hacked website.

There are other reasons why it makes sense to licence Kwese but the above-mentioned reasons paint a clear picture. There are reasons against the licencing but BAZ has not shared. We understand that there are various considerations that must be made before licencing a broadcaster. You can read about why the government might be hesitant to licence Kwese. We are not privy to all those and so all we can do is speculate.

Do tell us what you think. What other advantages or disadvantages are there in licencing Kwese? Should we even be considering this deal or are we better off with just DStv and ZBC?

 

The Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) is the regulatory authority for broadcasting in Zimbabwe. BAZ was established through an Act of Parliament in 2001 providing for the functions, powers and duties of the authority. BAZ falls under the Minister of ... Read More

DStv is a Pay TV service owned by South African company, Multichoice. DStv provides a broad spectrum of entertainment, news and information channels subscribed to via bouquets. Bouquets have a pre selected number of channels. In Zimbabwe, the DStv service ... 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

6 Comments

  1. Martha says:

    Kampamba welcomes Kwese TV launch

    by Thomas Ngala

    26th March 2017

    INFORMATION and broadcasting minister Kampamba Mulenga has assured that the government will work with private and public media institutions to develop the industry.

    And Mulenga has welcomed the launch of Zambia’s newest pay television station Kwese, owned by ECONET.

    Speaking after Kwese management paid a courtesy call on her, Mulenga, the chief government spokesperson, hoped ECONET would play a role in growing the country’s media industry.

    She further said it was good that Kwese, a new satellite network, would focus more on local content broadcasting and that the satellite pay television station would contribute immensely to the promotion of competition and the generation of local content.

    “Government wishes to congratulate ECONET, the owners of Kwese, for launching such a pay television that is premised [on] airing more local content. We hope that the newly launched pay television will provide a platform for the dissemination of diverse information to the members of the public,” said Mulenga according to a statement issued by her ministry’s press office.

    And ECONET regulatory, policy and government affairs for Africa executive Zolile Ntukwana said Kwese would offer an array of programmes which would be affordable to ordinary Zambians.

    Ntukwana also emphasised that Kwese would stick to the Zambian laws and uphold morality in their programming.

    ECONET, through Kwese, would offer, among others, a subscription bouquet, a free Topstar channel, including live streaming.

    Topstar, a joint venture formed between ZNBC and Chinese Star Times, which now owns 60 per cent of shareholding in the national broadcaster to recover a $273 million given to the government just before the August 11, 2016 general elections allegedly for digital migration, has also been given rights to be a carrier of all other content providers in the country.

  2. Takura says:

    The double standards in this country are shocking and counter productive. Everything seems to be politicised, its sad.

  3. inini says:

    Diplomatic payback, Dstv is a South African company

  4. Mncedisi Ncube says:

    Prophet of doom,how can they cancel license for a Zimbabwean, let people,choose,Kwese TV,DSTV,and the almost dead ztv

  5. Dopori says:

    Elections are coming in 2018. Government is bankrupt and wants funding for those elections and it is therefore using POTRAZ as a proxy to play hard-to-get (read holding Kwese at ransom) so that as election time draws closer, POTRAZ will then issue the required licence to Kwese in return for funds in the form of licensing fees etc etc for the said elections.

    That’s my take.

    Watch this space.

    1. Anonymous says:

      Zanu pf led govt cannot afford to allow Zimbabweans to have an alternative source of news especially just before the elections in 2018…never ever ever

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