So the Zimbabwean government is at it again. They are making the promise that before the year ends they would have added 12 new “independent” TV channels to one pathetic ZBC TV channel we have had for four decades. Not many people are salivating at this prospect.

Why? For several reasons really including the following:

  • The government has made many similar promises before. The past decade is littered with such promises and yet here we are with one solitary TV channel in 2020. It’s a channel that spends more time praising the ruling party than entertaining people. This has led to a massive drop in viewership over the past two decades. People would rather brave irrelevant South African ads every 5 or so minutes that be subjected to condescending jingles telling us how well our economy is doing when we know better.
  • Free to air satellite TV took the mantle from ZBC starting with Wiztech and Philabao decoders. Now people have OpenView HD decoders. These do not require a monthly payment so people get to watch quality programming that his not censored to suit the ruling party’s needs.
  • Those with money already have DSTV subscriptions and no longer care about ZBC
  • This is the era of technology. If the government was talking about streaming people would be more excited. Gone are the days when people were happy to let some DJ or program manager decide what they want to watch. This is 2020 and even American cable is investing in streaming as the era of broadcasting is over
  • These channels will probably not be independent anyway. We have seen this with radio stations in the past. The government wouldn’t even allow Jazz legend Oliver Mtukudzi to have a licence. Instead, these were all snapped up by the ruling party/government in various guises of “independence”. Even the Minister in charge essentially granted himself a licence through corporations and veiled affiliations. This will certainly not be any different.
  • The programming is just going to be just as lacklustre with much time spent on bootlicking and praising authorities instead of entertaining people. ZBC has failed to run one channel imagine them running 12.