Regulator blocks Kwesé TV launch in Zimbabwe
Kwesé TV, the pay-TV service that’s part of Econet Media has finally gone live broadcasting in 3 countries as part of its first phase rollout.
Rwanda, Zambia and Ghana are the first to view Kwesé TV with Botswana, Nigeria, Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda lined up as the next countries where the service will be launched. It’s set to be introduced in 18 countries across Africa by June 2017.
Unfortunately, Zimbabwe wasn’t part of the first phase and looking at the lineup it’s not part of the second one either, something that will probably frustrate citizens here considering the close ties that Kwesé TV has with our country.
Kwesé TV was launched by Econet Media, a subsidiary of Econet Global which was founded by Zimbabwean entrepreneur Strive Masiyiwa. The service’s name Kwese, which means “everywhere” is taken from the Shona language which is the country’s most common indigenous language.
However, it takes more than an indigenous name to get regulatory approval. Responding to a question regarding Kwesé TV’s absence in Zimbabwe which was posted on his Facebook page, Strive Masiyiwa referenced how their team was yet to get approval and how they wanted Zimbabwe to be on the launch schedule.
Strive Masiyiwa Gilbert Munditi, writes:
Dr Masiyiwa, am Zimbabwean and my heart bleeds when I see what other nations are benefiting from you always. I am not saying they shouldn’t, but I am bemoaning our policies which are counter development, which have robbed an entire generation of the economic benefits and entertainment resulting from the wisdom of their kith and kin. “Woe to them who stifle their people”, (Captain Thomas Sankara). One day we shall benefit because God is faithful. Love you lots
Masiyiwa’s response reads,
We really wanted Zimbabwe to be on the launch schedule for next week. More resources have been expended to getting the approvals in Zimbabwe than in all the countries put together! I remain hopeful that one day the approvals will be granted. As soon as that happens we will get Zimbabwe up and running within a matter of weeks, and we will create thousands of jobs.
Econet Media has tried to make a mark in Zimbabwe, though, albeit with limited success. In August 2016 Econet Media extended its free to air sports content, specifically English Premier League football and coverage of the Olympics to the national broadcaster, ZBC.
The arrangement lasted briefly before being terminated under unclear circumstances. It was later revealed that the government had terminated the deal because it didn’t want to promote a competitor and that it preferred that Kwesé TV gets its own licence.
Until the regulator, in this case, the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) warms up to the efforts that Econet Media is making, Kwesé TV will have to expand to every other territory and Zimbabweans will have to wait for that one day when it happens.