Kwese TV seeks permission to operate

Daniel Nemukuyu Senior Court Reporter
Dr Dish (Pvt) Limited, which recently partnered Econet Media Limited (Mauritius) to distribute Kwese TV satellite content to the Zimbabwean viewership, has filed an urgent chamber application seeking permission to operate its broadcast business, pending determination of a Supreme Court appeal by the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe.

High Court judge Justice Charles Hungwe last week handed down a judgment allowing Dr Dish, in partnership with Econet Media, to provide the service pending confirmation of the provisional order.

He set aside an earlier decision by BAZ cancelling the content distribution licence awarded to Econet Media’s partner, Dr Dish (Pvt) Ltd. Justice Hungwe allowed Dr Dish to enjoy the full benefits of its licence, pending finalisation of the main dispute.

Dissatisfied with the outcome, BAZ through its lawyers T.H Chitapi & Associates, on Monday filed a notice of appeal at the Supreme Court seeking the setting aside of the High Court decision.

Pending determination of the Supreme Court challenge, Dr Dish has approached the High Court with an urgent chamber application for leave to execute the High Court judgment. In the application, Dr Dish argued that Kwese TV will suffer financial prejudice if the Supreme Court appeal sets aside the High Court judgment.

“Applicant had 24 145 subscribers (before the High Court judgment),” reads the application. “At least 5 429 more subscribers have joined applicant’s network since the judgment was handed down, bringing the total subscribers to 32 429.

“The violation of the Constitutional rights of applicant’s subscribers will be perpetuated if leave to execute pending appeal is not granted on an urgent basis.”

Dr Dish argued that 1 635 people employed by Kwese risk losing their jobs if the urgent chamber application failed. The people’s right to freedom of the media will also be violated, Dr Dish argued.

Dr Dish argued that the appeal filed by BAZ was meant to frustrate the Kwese TV project and that it had no prospects of success. “The appeal is not bona fide,” reads an affidavit by Dr Dish director Mr Nyasha Muzavazi.

“It has been made for purposes of delay and for the purpose of harassing the applicant and depriving the members of public access to Kwese content that applicant is distributing.”

Dr Dish questioned why BAZ was turning a blind eye to several illegal satellite television operators, who were selling DIGISat and Zuku decoders on the streets, but exerting its energy on the Kwese project.

Dr Dish was in 2007 issued with a licence to specifically provide My TV Africa channels to Zimbabwean viewers, but it struggled to pay the required fees for years. It also reached a point of failing to provide the service until BAZ issued a notice of intention to cancel the licence in October last year.

Last month, Dr Dish partnered Econet Media Limited (Mauritius) and paid all the outstanding fees before notifying BAZ of its intention to add the Kwese TV channels to its list of content.

BAZ received the money, but went on to terminate the licence through a letter dated August 22 this year.

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  • Wilson Magaya

    And the negotiations go on. Let’s show that our law is beyond personal differences and levels the playing field. Development is a discussive process and wow how it continues to unfold. Butterfly come caterpillar, “Nyika Vanhu” Do the people want another broadcaster? Of course. Musha Matare, Is that possible in Zimbabwe? Yes it is. Let the consensus building continue in the courts and may the people’s wishes prevail….

  • muchovi washoko

    VP Nkomo at inception bailed out Econet whose efforts were being stalled by some people. We are at it again but sadly, the gentle mdala is no more.

  • yowe

    Zanu Pf at it again..fighting hard to make it impossible for any positive development to occur in the country

    • Cde Mzvinavhu(Prof)

      Its not ZANU PF , but the country law passed by our parliament , which has non ZANU PF MPs also. Kkkkkkki.

      • yowe

        Tibvireapo

  • Madara

    dstv is not a zimbabwean company therefore it doesnt need to accept a currency that doesnt even have an exchange rate.

    • Goritoto LP

      what about pick&pay and the rest of other foreign companies like Total.

    • Wellington

      but Bond note is 1:1 with USD isnt it what the poor govenor said

  • Gandanga Matigari

    I hate BAZ, i do not like the expensive DSTV (expensive in cost and process and the arrogance of the staff) and am yet to decide on Kwese. My take however is that due process of the law should be followed. Strive believes in the law, i respect him for that, and if they are correct on the law, the courts will rule in their favour. What happens after, like defiance, is a matter for another day. They should also draw lessons from the 2003? Daily News challenge vs AIPPA, at times the courts interpret the law as it is. Interesting how they will take it if the Supreme Court rules against them. They celebrated the decision of the lower court. I am not privy to the full affidavit but from what is cited here, the lawyers are not very deep, they raised issues yes but are they entertained at law?

  • Cde Mzvinavhu(Prof)

    Its not Kwese TV versus ZANU PF . Leave the party out of this issue. The company is Econet Media Limited(Mauritius) . Have you looked at the shareholding of the company? Even the local ,Econet , the shareholding structure of the quoted company is not indigenous. The court has to decide between the company and the regulator. Its the prerogative of the regulator to appeal to a higher court also. Let us wait and see the outcome. Ndiyo rule of law ka iyoyi. Musade kupinza Harvest House politics.

    • Gary WekuZviyambe

      Actually, ZANU-PF sees Zimbabwe as their private property on all major decisions so it IS Kwese vs ZANU-PF. Econet was birthed in this country and will remain a truly indigenous entity in spite of the spin you want to put in about Mauritius. DSTV is registered locally as a company but we all know that it is a South African company.

  • Chief Legal Adviser

    Investors must meet the law.

  • Cde Njelele

    There are many anti ZANU PF media already in Zim. So what?

  • Cde Muziriwegazi(Mzilikazi)

    Its not Strive Masiyiwa who applied, but a legal persona, a company. The license holder is Dish , not Strive Mas! The shareholding is more than Masiyiwa. Even the local Econet. Many institutional investors are now the major shareholders, not the original share structure before the company was quoted on the stock market. If the regulator is wrong , the courts will decide.

  • Cde Chirikuutsi Wasu

    What is noble must also be legal. Cde Muzenda never advocated operating illegally. I think the courts , not politics, will settle the issue , which ever way.

  • Goritoto LP

    in Zambia they pay kwacha same as malawi, how are they paying for their content?

    • simple really

      Zambia and Malawi dont have a problem with nostro balances, its quite simple . They can settle outside payments. Zimbabwe cannot!!!

    • mpengo

      The bond note is not determined by the value of the economy.

      Even in Zimbabwe, it not defined as currency.

      It is what a bunch of foolish people decided was of equivalent to USD

  • Wellington

    So econet is a Mauritian company hehehehe truth slowly coming out, Strive fronting indians

    • Alois Chikuvire

      Read wide Wellington