The Zimbabwean government should outsmart its detractors during the current bickering and play well to the public gallery by simply handing over Kwese the much-anticipated TV licence, instead of allowing it to fight all the way for victory.
The continued battle between the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) and Kwese TV is not wise and does not help the government and stakeholders in any way, especially if they lose such a case.
Having jumped through the hoops and met all the requirements through Dr Dish its content distribution partner, BAZ is still against Kwese, and even went ahead in appealing a High Court ruling that had okayed Kwese’s operations in Zimbabwe.
President Mugabe is on record calling for ease of doing businesses, but looking at how Kwese TV has been treated, the ministry is not being reciprocative as it makes it hard for Kwese and all its affiliates to operate, having all the requirements needed to be granted a licence in Zimbabwe.
For starters, there is nothing special about granting a satellite broadcasting licence to any organisation that is willing and able to pay for it and also work within the framework set by the relevant authorities governing broadcast material in the country, which in this case is BAZ.
Simply put, BAZ must okay Kwese TV to operate in Zimbabwe.
The role of BAZ should simply be to regulate players and create a good broadcasting environment in Zimbabwe and not to simply block service providers willing to operate in Zimbabwe, without giving much of a valid excuse.
To have Kwese operate in Zimbabwe is a good thing as they add competition to the market that has had DSTV operate as a monopoly and having a lot of power over the Zimbabwean consumers who have had many issues to contend with. These range from exorbitant prices to hardships in methods of payment as many banks and mobile money services no longer offer the option to pay for DSTV on their platforms due to the foreign currency shortages in the country.
The precedence being set by regulatory bodies in Zimbabwe is not good as Kwese’s parent company, Econet Wireless suffered the same fate many years ago as they struggled to attain a telecommunication licence and were forced to fight for a licence in the courts, ensuing a legal battle that lasted 5 years.
Because of the bad blood between the government and Strive Masiyiwa, the founder of Econet Wireless, the company moved its headquarters to South Africa where it has called home ever since.
It is unimaginable to count the lost revenue in opportunities that Zimbabwe lost when Econet moved to South Africa, but considering what is happening already, some companies may leave and others willing to start their own businesses may opt for another country that is more open to businesses that have a better business environment than that of Zimbabwe.