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Strive Masiyiwa Telecoms

Mugabe blocks telecoms mogul Strive Masiyiwa from launching a Zimbabwe Satelite TV station

ZIMBABWEAN business mogul, Strive Masiyiwa on Monday launched Africa’s newest satellite network, Kwese TV, in Ghana, Rwanda and Zambia, skipping Zimbabwe, after once again being frustrated by President Robert Mugabe’s government.

BY WINSTONE ANTONIO

Econet founder Strive Masiyiwa

Econet founder Strive Masiyiwa

Two decades ago, Masiyiwa went through hell while trying to launch Econet, a company that has since grown into the government’s cash cow.

Masiyiwa disclosed on Facebook yesterday that he would have loved Zimbabwe to be part of the project that would create thousands of jobs, but failed to get approval from the government.

The telecommunications magnate, however, expressed optimism that he would one day be granted permission to roll out the project in Zimbabwe and would get it running in exactly two weeks.

Masiyiwa was responding to a Facebook post from Gilbert Munditi, who said his heart was bleeding at seeing other countries benefiting from the telecommunications mogul’s projects, yet Zimbabwe was left out.

“We really wanted Zimbabwe to be on the launch schedule. More resources have been expended to getting the approvals in Zimbabwe than in all other countries put together. I remain hopeful that one day the approvals will be granted,” Masiyiwa said.

“As soon as that happens, we will get Zimbabwe up and running within a matter of weeks and we will create thousands of jobs.”

Late last year, Kwese TV struck a deal with ZBC to screen its football content, but this was cancelled after only one week.

Since 2000, Zimbabwe media stakeholders have been calling for the liberalisation of broadcasting services, so that private players can operate, but with no luck.

While a number of players have received radio broadcasting licences, these are connected to the government and betray authorities’ insincerity towards opening the airwaves.

In a statement on the launch, Econet media boss, Joseph Hundah said their aim was to be the first choice for viewers all over Africa bringing the best in programming at an affordable price making it accessible to many people.

Music promoter, Plot Mhako decried Kwese TV’s absence in Zimbabwe, describing it as a missed opportunity.

“Kwese TV would have provided an alternative platform to local content hungry Zimbabweans and in turn stimulating demand and creating more jobs and opportunities for the local creatives,” he said.

Efforts to get a comment from the Information ministry were fruitless yesterday.

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