By Moregiven Sithole
Harare, 15 September 2017
Zimbabweans heaved a sigh of relief last week when the High Court of Zimbabwe overturned the decision by the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) to bar Kwese Television from broadcasting. However, in a move that is contrary to the wish of the majority of ordinary Zimbabweans, BAZ has appealed against the High Court decision at the Supreme Court.
The Econet owned Kwese TV recently partnered as content provider with Dr Dish, which was granted the broadcasting licence by BAZ in 2007 .Following its partnership agreement, Kwese TV announced to Zimbabweans that it was now offering Digital Satellite Television services, previously monopolized by the South African based Multichoice. With government being reported to have a stake in Zimbabwe’s division of Multichoice, BAZ disappointed would be Kwese subscribers when it immediately announced that Mr Dish’s licence had been cancelled due to “procedural illegalities.”
A legal battle ensued when Kwese TV, which has already started operations in Botswana, Ghana and other African countries filed an urgent chamber application at the High Court in protest against BAZ,’s unilateral ruling. . The High Court ruled in favour of Kwese, paving way for the Econet owned broadcasting concern to resume selling its products. With people beginning to take break from Multichoice’s exorbitantly priced services that are paid in scarce foreign currency, BAZ has just appealed against the well considered High Court ruling. Kwese TV services are welcome to the majority considering flexible payment arrangements that include payment for subscriptions using swipe, mobile money and the better available bond notes. Besides, for a monthly payment of $49, Kwese provides a full package of channels including major Supersport and movie channels. This is a far cry from Multichoice, which charges almost $100 a month for a similar bookie.
In a country where 88% of the population is reported to be living on less than a dollar per day, the Multichoice package are certainly beyond the reach of many. Even for the few who can afford it has become difficult for to make payments as Multichoice no longer accepts mobile money, swipe for subscription payments. Payment for Multichoice services is also restricted to a few banks, making it difficult for those who do not hold accounts with these banks.
With the boring Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation Television being brought into the equation, one would almost say that Kwese is what the Doctor has rightly ordered for the crisis weary Zimbabweans. This explains why Zimbabweans have been flocking to Kwese. As per numbers provided by Dr Dish exuctive Chairperson of Nyasha Muzavazi,a total of 7 259 people in Zimbabwe have signed up for Kwese services within the last 3 weeks. Some 1600 people have also secured employment at Kwese TV.
The people have fallen in love with Kwese. Frustrating this new kid on the bloc from freely entering the market is certainly anti-people.