KELVIN KACHINGWE, Lusaka
DSTV is about entertainment, and it is perhaps only proper that President Lungu had to close the 20th year celebration of MultiChoice in Zambia by dancing to Macky IIâ€™s African Woman at the gala dinner dance at Taj Pamodzi Hotel in Lusaka on Friday night.
JK (Jordan Katembula) set the tone for the night by remarking Ni Edgar Balefwaya when the head of State made his way in the Malila Hall. And JK was not finished; he joined the President on the dance floor alongside South African High Commissioner to Zambia Sikose Mji as they danced to African Woman.
South African High Commissioner looked a real African Woman with her Kopala dance. Who taught her that dance! Maybe, she saw it on Zambezi Magic, a new DStv channel showcasing Zambian content.
About 20 years ago, Zambians only knew of the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC), which broadcast from 17:00 hours to 22:00 hours. MultiChoice came in and revolutionised the television industry by dramatically improving the quality, variety and reach of television as a product.
President Lungu is impressed with the way the ZNBC-MultiChoice partnership has worked. This is in line with Governmentâ€™s deliberate effort to promote the establishment of private-public partnerships to accelerate development of the economy.
The government has gone further by devising a policy on digital migration to guide the migration process with the promotion of local talent and content.
â€œThis policy has put in place measures to promote partnerships and enhance citizen participation in the broadcasting sectors,â€ President Lungu said.
â€œâ€¦The requirement for 35 percent local content threshold is one such measure to promote local film industry and to create employment for our people. The local film industry requires support to grow.
â€œAs you are aware, the film industry is vital for the preservation of our culture and heritage, therefore, I would like to see significant investment in this industry. To enhance this investment, I wish to direct the Minister of Information to bring to Cabinet a film policy before the end of February next year to provide clear guidelines aimed at developing this important sector.â€
President Lungu said the government is determined to roll out the digital terrestrial television broadcasting network to cover the whole country, which will significantly reduce the cost of establishing television broadcasting as broadcasters will only be expected to establish studios.
This will resonate with the decision to move the Department of Co-operatives from the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock to the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry.
President Lungu says this will accelerate job creation and contribute to the diversification programme.
â€œIn this vein, I direct the Minister of Information to explore the possibility of mobilising the fresh graduates to form co-operatives in the broadcasting sector,â€ he said.
â€œI wish to reiterate that diversification of our economy will require radical mindset shift by both government agencies and the people as a sure way of forming co-operatives in the broadcasting sector.â€
He says government appreciates the achievement scored by Multi-Choice Zambia in the private-public partnership, a clear sign that the government policy is working.
â€œThe Zambian subscriber has allowed us to be part of their family. It is because our viewers go back home to watch their favourite football, their favourite movie, music or reality show that we are celebrating 20 years,â€ MultiChoice Zambia acting general manager Ngoza Kasunga-Matakala said.
KELVIN KACHINGWE, Lusaka