Last Friday we published the allegations that Econet Media (Kwese)’s partner is making against the media company regarding their Zimbabwe operation. Said partner, Dr Dish is alleging that Kwese is currently operating without a license which is a criminal offense in Zimbabwe.
Of course when Econet Media came into Zimbabwe they did not have a license at all, they partnered with Dr Dish so they could utilise Dr Dish’s broadcasting license to meet the requirements of the Zimbabwean law. The two thus signed a content distribution agreement which would essentially mean that Dr Dish would be the ‘carrier’ of Kwese in Zimbabwe.
On or before 10 November Econet Media terminated the content distribution agreement and advised the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe according to Dr Dish. When we wrote on Friday we did not have the response by Econet Media yet. On Friday evening Zachary Wazara, a consultant with Econet Media (Kwese) sent us a response.
Wazara agreed that they had indeed terminated their contract with Dr Dish but he said this was “in line with the provisions of the agreement between both parties.” He went on to say that reports that they were operating with some kind of government permit instead of a license were speculative. He referred us to ‘relevant authorities’ for clarification on this issue.
The relevant authorities have not been easy to get comment from so far. First, the Ministry of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services does not have a minister yet since Chris Mutrsvangwa was moved from there to become Advisor to President Mnangagwa. George Charamba, who remains the Permanent Secretary in that ministry was busy the last time we checked. We will try to catch him at a more opportune time…
Our further question was again referred to the ‘relevant authorities’ by Zachary Wazara. He concluded by stating the below:
I want to reiterate though the message I communicated in the Herald report. Zimbabwe has entered reconstruction phase, and all responsible citizens and businesses are responding to the call by government for collective action to rebuild our nation. Our focus right now is on the role our group can play to support these efforts to bring investment in our nation and help reduce rampant unemployment and poverty.
The launch of Kwese has been one of the most exciting and powerful developments in the country. In less than a year, the company has been able to recruit, train and empower over 3,000 entrepreneurs (companies and individuals) who are doing service installations and support on a non-stop basis. Over 1,000 brand ambassadors have been employed. customers have been offered a very rich content offering at a third of the premium services which were previously offered in the market before the launch of Kwese, and they can pay in bonds, Ecocash, swipe or dollars. Furthermore, they have a flexible payment option to pay for 30 days, 7 days or three days depending on their preference. Furthermore, they can get the Kwese Mobile Experience, which enables them to watch the same content on their mobile phones, streaming on the Econet LTE network or Kwese Hotspots.
The partnership between ZBC and Kwese has also been a big boost to customers who can now watch their local news from anywhere at any time on their mobile devices.
The launch of Kwese has got to be one of the most exciting stories told, not just in Zimbabwe, but in Africa.
I hope this is helpful.