…MACRA forces MultiChoice to close
…thousands of jobs, businesses at risk
The underqualified Malawi Congress Party (MCP) operative Daudi Sulieman, placed at MACRA by President Lazarus Chakwera, on Tuesday, sank into a new low over his incompetence as a multinational investor MultiChoice told the world that Malawi has become “a hostile and uncertain” business destination under Chakwera’s administration.
Suleiman, whose qualification to Head the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) was questioned by Parliament and reported to the Ombudsman, as he did not have the requisite experience, has championed intimidation and closure of media companies.
“The regulatory environment in Malawi has become hostile and fraught with uncertainty. This has affected the investment environment in which MultiChoice Africa Holdings provides services and conducts its business,” Retief Tromp, Chief Financial Officer for the company informed MACRA.
MACRA’s cluelessness is a hallmark of Chakwera’s selected team who fail to understand and appreciate basic things, including the unnecessary fight with Multichoice is likely to backfire and end up as another embarrassment to the scandal-laden administration.
DTSV provides services to mainly middle-class and businesses like Gambling, Hotels, Lodges, Bars, and some local entrepreneurs who charge for popular sports channels for games such as the English Premier League which is due to start this weekend.
“The stupidity of MACRA means I can’t make the money I anticipated from the games this weekend. I renovated my bar and hoped to have more people. Where did these people come from,” fumed a bar owner from Chilobwe on Facebook.
Social media was less kind in its response to a statement signed by Suleiman informing Malawians that MACRA had obtained an injunction against the DSTV company.
“Only failures pick each other. Chakwera picked a fellow failure. He won’t even fire him for this serious and embarrassing gaffe. Suleiman failed to run his Nyimbo Music, he ended up in a fight with the Fikisa Band. It is alleged he was fired at a certain bank for poor performance. He failed to perform at Basmal, at FAM that he went to MCP where all failures seem to have congregated to mess up Malawi,” a prominent social media commentator noted.
Since taking office, apart from travelling and attending meetings, MACRA has specialised in closing radio and TV stations based on politics and now Sulieman has turned to Multichoice Malawi, which he tried to force to set prices in a liberalised economy.
Under President Chakwera, the Malawi kwacha has lost its value by over 100 percent to the US dollar and essential goods such as fuel are now scarce and others missing on the shelves with no solution in sight apart from a blame game that the government is engaging in.
In a related development, Suleiman has started haunting Mibawa Television for launching an app to air its TV programmes. The internet-enabled app only shows what is on its TV, just like Facebook or Youtube Live. MACRA says Mibawa, which already broadcasts on a Facebook app, needs a license.
BBC which is licensed in Malawi also has an app and MACRA has not asked them for a license, raising questions on why Suleiman is targeting local stations for improving their audience reach platforms.