Kwese TV wants to broadcast pending appeal

Kwese TV CEO Joseph Hundah

HARARE – Econet Group’s pay television service, Kwese TV yesterday filed an urgent chamber application — through its partner Dr Dish (Private) Limited — seeking permission to be broadcasting pending a Supreme Court hearing of an appeal filed by the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (Baz).

This comes after the High Court last week ordered Baz to issue a licence to Kwese TV, to start broadcasting.

Baz and its chief executive officer Obert Muganyura this week filed a Supreme Court appeal challenging High Court judge Charles Hungwe’s ruling.

In its urgent chamber application, Dr Dish is seeking leave to broadcast pending 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.

In his ruling, justice 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.

The latest urgent chamber application is yet to be set down for hearing and Baz is still to file its response.

Baz declared Kwese TV illegal and warned the company against providing services without a licence.

The development sparked a legal battle between Econet and President Robert Mugabe’s government, which again lost the battle after another highly publicised battle against the telecoms, media and technology group’s founder, Strive Masiyiwa, in 1998.

Econet Media two weeks ago announced the introduction of Kwese TV in Zimbabwe, to compete with the country’s sole, State-owned television station as well as Naspers’ Multichoice. Indications were that Kwese TV would rise on a third party licence held by Dr Dish.

However, in a statement issued by Muganyura, Dr Dish’s licence had long been revoked after the company failed to launch as service.

Kwese TV approached the High Court last week on an urgent basis demanding the reversal of a decision by Muganyura.