Written by Tamandani Hau:
As the battle between the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) and MultiChoice Africa on the withdrawal of DSTV services in Malawi continues, MultiChoice Malawi has revealed it will seek for Court intervention on the matter.
MultiChoice Malawi Corporate Affairs Manager, Zena Makunje made the affirmation Wednesday after meeting with the Parliamentary Committee on Media, Information and Communication and also officials from MACRA.
The meeting followed MACRA’s notice to MultiChoice Malawi that it should pay k19 million outstanding license fee, before withdrawing its DSTV services in Malawi.
Makuje said, “We are committed to ensuring that we are working in favorable conditions in line with our customer needs and we hope to see this issue resolved. On the issue of the outstanding license fee, we are seeking Court’s intervention to give its stand”.
In 2022, MACRA Director General Daudi Suleman ordered MultiChoice Malawi to credit back the money that it charged its customers on the adjusted bouquet without approval of the communications regulatory body, and also pay k10 million to MACRA within 30 days.
Then, MultiChoice Malawi sought legal intervention. However, whilst waiting for the Court’s determination, its mother company, MultiChoice Africa, issued a statement notifying the general public that it has withdrawn all DSTV services in Malawi.
In a separate interview, Chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on Media, Information and Communication Suzen Dossi said, the committee will continue engaging concerned parties to resolve the issue but disclosed that the committee has noted some gaps in the Communications Act of 2016.
She said, “A lot of issues have come out including some gaps which the committee has observed in the Communications Act of 2016, and that can be misinterpreted. For instance, section 74 subsection (1) needs to be revisited”.
Dossi added that there is a positive willingness from both MACRA and MultiChoice to reach a level where all parties should be satisfied in line with the operations of the country.
Meanwhile, Minister of Information and Digitalization Moses Kunkuyu alluded that the mandate of the government is to see that there is a fair and favorable condition between operators and consumers in the country.
“In a free democracy, there are disagreements on various issues relating to laws or other pressing issues but at the end of the day, discussions are paramount in reaching for a concrete resolution” said Kunkuyu.
As it is, DSTV subscribers in Malawi are still holding on tight to their fingers expecting a fair resolution to the torment in the legal battle that has erupted.