Kwese TV is back

HARARE - Telecommunications magnate Strive Masiyiwa’s Econet Media-owned Kwese TV through its partner Dr Dish (Private) Limited has won an urgent chamber application in which it sought permission to continue broadcasting pending a Supreme Court appeal filed by the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (Baz).

High Court judge Charles Hungwe granted the order. Dr Dish’s lawyer Tawanda Nyambirai confirmed the development to the Daily News yesterday.

“The application by Dr Dish for leave to continue operating pending the Supreme Court appeal has been successful. This means that Dr Dish will continue to operate pending the appeal,” Nyambirai said.

The application comes after Baz and its chief executive officer Obert Muganyura appealed against Hungwe’s earlier ruling in which he overturned a ban that the authority had placed on Kwese TV.

In the urgent chamber application, Dr Dish sought leave to continue operating pending the appeal, arguing that Baz and Muganyura were playing delaying tactics which would be prejudicial to the independent broadcaster.

“The judgment appealed against was granted on an urgent basis after this honourable court had satisfied itself about the urgency of the matter…that decision was interlocutory in its nature. Respondents (Baz and Muganyura) have not asked for that judgment to be transcribed yet they purport to appeal against it. They do not even state the date of that judgment as required by the Rules of the Supreme Court…..the same reasons that were found to establish the urgency of this matter still obtain,” Dr Dish said.

A fresh battle between Masiyiwa and the government erupted when Muganyura, on August 22 this year, cancelled Dr Dish’s licence on the basis that its service provision to the country was illegal.

It is not the first time that Masiyiwa has had to take the legal route to meet his demands. This latest development set the stage for another bruising legal battle between Econet and President Robert Mugabe’s government, which lost a highly publicised battle against the telecoms, media and technology group’s founder in 1998.

Dr Dish argued in court papers that Muganyura’s actions, without board approval, were ultra vires the powers vested in him, adding that his decision threatened 1 635 jobs and 24 145 subscribers.

“Monetary loss exceeding $1, 4 million including staff costs at the rate of $979 500 per month. Loss of projected revenue for the months of August and September amounting to $2, 4 million at the rate of $88 000 a day. The risk of 1 635 jobs (and) the risk of a write-down of more than $4,1 million already incurred in the purchase of set-top boxes (as well as) great inconvenience to the 24 145 customers, who were enjoying the service and 7 259, who had applied,” Dr Dish executive chairperson Nyasha Muzavazi said in his founding affidavit presented before the High Court in the previous main application.

“The violation of the Constitutional Rights of applicant’s (Dr Dish) subscribers will be perpetuated if leave to execute pending appeal is not granted on an urgent basis. If leave to execute pending appeal is not granted on an urgent basis applicant will still be faced with financial ruin, and the 1 635 people that applicant employs will risk losing their jobs, while applicant’s subscribers will be prejudiced and the freedom of the media of the members of the public generally will be violated,” the company said.

In the ruling that culminated in the appeal, Hungwe gave Dr Dish an entitlement to enjoy full rights and benefits of its licence, irrespective of the August 22, 2017 letter that cancelled its operations.

“Consequently, the application succeeds. It is therefore ordered as follows: Pending the final determination of this matter, it is ordered that: the operation of the purported termination of Applicant (Dr Dish)’s Content Distribution Service Licence Number CD 0004 through a letter dated August 22, 2017 signed by second respondent (Muganyura) on the first respondent (Baz)’s letterhead be and is hereby suspended.

“Applicant shall be entitled to distribute the Econet Media Limited (Mauritius) content based on the technical standards by the applicant to the first respondent and accepted by first respondent on October 21, 2016,” Hungwe ruled in the High Court.

Comments (2)

ko vanovarambidzirei ini handisiye dstv yangu

g40 - 30 September 2017

Ko Muganyura ndiani, uye anomirira ani angada kutiudza legal and illegal content. Asi Kwese yacho yakati ino buditsa pornographic material. Iyo ZBC TV inobuditsa propaganda yakambovharwa nani? You always want to abuse Zimbabweans manje hatichada uye hatichatya wanzwa Muganyura

WeMasvingo - 30 September 2017

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