We understand that there is excitement that there is a new pay-TV option to rival DStv. Kwesé TV is that option and for the first time in decades one can look beyond DStv and still get their entertainment fix. As comparisons were made certain statements were thrown around as fact to make points. Let us look at Kwesé TV the company and not the service.
Some feel Kwesé TV has been over-hyped and they are right, in a way. Kwesé TV was fortunate in their launch in Zimbabwe. The Zimbabwean government in BAZ practically single-handedly made the whole nation sympathise with Kwesé TV as they tried three times to block it. They still are trying.
Kwesé TV was also fortunate to come at a time when there was a cash crisis in the country and their rival DStv had stopped accepting bond notes. People still felt betrayed by DStv and when Kwesé TV promised that we could pay however we wanted and with whatever currency some felt the end had come for DStv and told it on the mountaintops. Maybe all that was just an attempt to get DStv to accept bond notes, who knows at this point?
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As people debated whether BAZ was right in denying Kwesé TV a licence some were angry that the government which failed to deliver the two million jobs it had promised was now blocking a Zimbabwean company from providing much needed employment to Zimbabweans.
That argument that Kwesé TV was Zimbabwean kept coming and it is easy to understand why people would think that. Kwesé TV is Econet’s baby and we all know that Econet is Zimbabwean even as we know that Strive Masiyiwa, the guy behind Econet is Zimbabwean. Some were like, ‘Kwese is Shona guys, how more Zimbabwean can you get?’ This is all common knowledge but how accurate is it?
Yes, Strive Masiyiwa was born and bred in Zimbabwe but he hasn’t lived here in ages. Having said that we should acknowledge that he might not have left the country had the political situation not been what it was.
When people say ‘Econet’ in Zimbabwe they usually mean Econet Wireless Zimbabwe (EWZ). EWZ is where it all began for the Econet Group but now the Econet Group is massive and EWZ is merely a subsidiary. The Econet Global Group is headquartered in Mauritius. This means that Econet is a Mauritian company. Econet Wireless Africa is headquartered in Johannesburg South Africa and is part of the Econet Group.
EWZ though has a bit of autonomy, seeing as they are listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange. This means EWZ is a public company in Zimbabwe. It’s activities are confined to the Zimbabwean market. The Econet Group in contrast is a private owned company not listed on any stock exchange.
On to Kwesé TV. We all are familiar with how companies may register with the Registrar with one name but trade with another. This is what Kwesé did. Or more accurately Econet Media. Yes, the company behind Kwesé TV is Econet Media and is only doing business as Kwesé.
Econet Media like the Econet Group is a Mauritian company. When Dr Dish took BAZ to court you might have seen reference to Econet Media (Mauritius.) That company is Kwesé. Econet Media Limited operates as a subsidiary of Econet Wireless International (Pty) Ltd.
So while there is debate to be had that Kwesé TV is necessary to challenge DStv’s monopoly in the pay-TV market, they are by no means a Zimbabwean company. Of course as Zimbabweans we will always have a sense of ownership of everything Strive Masiyiwa touches but it is only a sense. He is not resident in Zimbabwe and the Econet Group is not Zimbabwean. Kwesé TV is not a Zimbabwean company. We welcome Kwesé but as a foreign company.