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Alba Iulia
Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Top Star-ZNBC deal is final-Government

Headlines Top Star-ZNBC deal is final-Government


The Zambian government says it will not reverse its decision to award 60% shares of the national broadcaster, ZNBC to Chinese digital television provider TopStar despite a huge public outcry.
ZNBC has entered into a joint venture with TopStar television which will see the rolling out of decoders for digital television under the TopStar brand as Zambia migrates to digital television.
According to the deal for the next 25 years, TopStar will be collecting all ZNBC advertising revenues and tower rental fees.

The money will go towards the servicing of a US$273 million loan that the Zambian government has contracted from the Export-Import Bank of China for the investment in the digital broadcasting network and the building of provincial studios.

However, the decision has resulted in a public backlash with stakeholders, including opposition parties, claiming it was bad for both ZNBC and the country.

Opposition United Progressive People’s (UPP) party president Saviour Chishimba said the deal will not benefit Zambians and ZNBC.

“Technically, ZNBC has been privatised. We were not consulted as stakeholders before the decision was made because we pay TV levy. In the next few weeks, our party will file a complaint against the deal because we want answers,” said Dr Chishimba.

However, Information and Broadcasting Services Minister Kampamba Mulenga said the decision is final.

“Yes, the government has partnered with Star Times to help with the provision of digital television under TopStar Communications. This decision is final and we will not reverse it as it is for the benefit of the country,” Mulenga told Journalists during a news briefing.

She said the move to enter into a joint venture with TopStar does not amount to privatisation of ZNBC.

And Top Star Zambia General Manager Cliff Sichone dispelled fears that the move will disadvantage ZNBC.

Mr Sichone said the deal is a win-win for all the parties involved.

He said the deal will offer Zambians a chance to buy a decoder for only K200 and enjoy the widest range of local and international channels.


    • Great decision.
      A little competition is always good. In U.K. For those that dream of ever coming here, we have sky and virgin and between them, they know the switching costs means they have to put their costs in check.



    • First they will turn that kantemba in Parklands into dog meat selling stall, then we’ll be listening to choncholi, complete with slit eyed girls reading, 1900hrs news (no wonder everyone in the know is sending their child to china for school). I just pray Masuzhyo Ndlovu, FTJ, Herbert Mutabi etc are as talented & trained as Caristo, Alec Mugala, etc because very soon they will be walking the streets.
      In the meantime we are all cheering.

    • Let’s get angry. They have taken away our mines, our land, our trees. Now they are taking away the few jobs remaining for us. Was this the INDEPENDENCE our forefathers wanted? This is not about Chagwa or HH, this is about us, about our future. For how long shall we stand aside as they loot our country, watching as they RAAPE OUR MOTHER. Enough is enough.

    • Dear Zambians. This deal is certainly not in the interest of our country. First that USD 273 million loan was concealed. Cabinet did not want to hear about until one of the media houses blew the whistle. Then only two weeks ago the Minister of Information came on air and told us that ZNBC had not been sold. Some tell me what “awarded 60% shares” means if that is not selling. Am so tired with this dishonesty govt. Are any legal channels that citizens can take to challenge and stop ourselves from being taken advantage of by govt. I don’t think lying and dishonesty are part of governance.

    • How can you give away shares for a loan…on top of that you are selling to a racist people who approve soap ads which portray a black man as dirty…we have a bunch of dumb people okaying this – this is why I call Lungu a lazy bum as if one looks at this deal you are not benefitting anything but cheap Chinese junk decorders which we will pay back with interest.

    • “The millions who are in want will not stand by silently forever while the things to satisfy their needs are within easy reach” FDR.

    • This government is corrupt. It shows that Lungu can be bought for any price. He does not have any integrity. Why was the sale not offered to a Zambia or African. The money from this sale as be pocketed by Lungu !

    • @Mushota
      …Whoops, you did it again. Since when is a joint venture a competition by itself, your comparison with the UK Sky and Virgin is a bit off the mark.
      It stays to be seen how your MBA has evoked any critical thinking in you. I always say get your professional qualifications like MBA after a bit of work experience, otherwise, they become worthless papers that you end up just showing off.
      Just a piece of advice.

    • Mushota think before you yap. This is not about competition. Who is competing with who here? This is about a national asset being sold off illegally. DeadNBC has been sold off without regard to stakeholders.

    • This selfsame silly woman Mulenga rubbished this story now she has given away 60% shares…you might as well have a Chine Director General.

    • They have bought it ALREADY!

      Lungu has just been to scared to tell Zambians. And the Chinese have paid him to keep on travelling so that he only comes to State House for quick swearing in ceremonies.

    • Not a bad idea, even 120yrs, then we can even ask them to manage our economy, perhaps we could be better off, than these corrupt institutions that we have.

    • That will only happen should HH become president. Mark my words, should HH become president, then State house will be privatized.

  1. Just 2 weeks ago, Information Minister denied that DeadNBC wasn’t being sold to the Chinese.


    Today we are being told otherwise.

    It’s so painful to helplessly watch as PF00Lish Regime auctions our nation to the Chinese. Where will the pipo get money for for subscription to DeadNBC? 25 years of all our revenue going to China? Who sanctioned this STYOPET deal? Guys this is beyond scandalous!!

    Next Zesco will be auctioned to Sino-Hydro for the loans obtained for sub-standard Kafue-gorge turbines which are causing load-shedding in the country.

    Election-thief LUNGU & his PF00lish minions are destroying our country. Zambians are dormant/docile by nature & I wouldn’t be surprised if…

  2. Admittedly, consultations were not done. 60% is just too big to give Chinese company, especially that the Chinese are fond of sub standard offers. 25 years is also too long. What if they start defaulting on the way?

    • You will be colonised mentally by the Chines…the Chines would never sell a foreigner even one percent just ask Google; they know the power of media. What a bunch of corrupt lazy fooools we have in govt!!

    • 60% means they are in majority and they control ZNBC destiny. And she has the guts even to say this does not amount to the privatisation of ZNBC. If it’s not privatisation, then its colonisation by the Chinese.

    • No. Your TV Levy has to be “cost reflective” from now onwards. If people are paying almost K1,000 for DSTV, why won’t Star Times ZNBC charge the same to recover their “investment”?

    • This company will be collecting tower fees as well …why did they just let the company retail the on the market…moreover modern tvs have inbuilt decoders now even owning a Tv will be unaffordable…i just dont see what this company is bring to the table.

  3. While you are at it you may as well sale the entire country. Ninshi ba PF what is your problem kanshi?
    Now you see where your careless borrowing is taking us.

    • @Uncle Sam,
      And that is the most painful part of this whole, they want the money to service US$273 million loans that the Zambian government has contracted from the Export-Import Bank of China.
      When we tell them these LOANS from Chinese are not for NOTHING, we are told that is nonsense, right?
      Now it’s 60% in ZNBC, next will be……. just wait.
      I wish they had takeover statehouse for next 5 years, to ensure they re-install load shedding, improve UTH, and ensure free elections in 2021, etc

    The Country went to the Imbwaz the day Corrupt P.F was voted into office. That day was the DARKEST CHAPTER IN ZAMBIAS HISTORY!

  5. zambia is weak both economically and mentally. you can’t match the chinese brain power, just accept whatever they demand yet you claim to have economists, professors, masters degree holders, degree holders, doctors, technicians, nurses, engineers, pilots, plumbers, fitters etc trained in zambia, abroad and oversees. why can’t all those people develop your country if they are serious and capable. you don’t go to school in order to dangle a necktie over a pot belly. you have to solve problems like this on your own. africans are scatter-brained and in this case, zambian govt is hare-brained.

  6. Surely how can you sell 60% of a national broadcaster to a foreigner then to top of you get a loan from Export-Import Bank of China for $200million meaning Chinese manufacturing will benefit…what bunch of empty tins…so that rumor was right about selling ZNBC.

  7. Ba UPND are you not the ones who are champions in privatisation? Now you are talking about privatizing ZNBC as being wrong?


  8. ZNBC lost its relevance a long time ago. I do not care what happens to it now, they can even give it for free to the Chinese. This TV station only serves the political party in power, it does not serve an ordinary Zambian.

    • You can not film in the streets of China without a govt minder and you think its okay for poor children to watch Chinese shows…why are you so docile and short sighted…what is $200m isnt the same amount that lazy bum spent on those pointless Solar Hammer mills…funds are there but we have utterly lazy incompetent tins managing resources.

    • Unfortunately because ZNBC is the “national” broadcaster, Zambians are forced to pay for its costs of operations through funding from govt or TV Levy which is automatically added to your electricity bill. The Chinese now have a guaranteed income stream that you cannot argue against. While you can downgrade or stop your subscription to DSTV, the TV levy is a legal requirement. If you don’t pay it, you are breaking the law like Mmembe. PF will come after you.

    • You are as dumb as Lazy and his tins…why do you think the Chines are eager to get 60% of a media house…this is the same reason there is 50000 bibles in storage in a Cairo road building.

    • This is the elite of Zambians, can you imagine??? How can you say you don’t care, honestly???
      O.M.G, take this guy to be an MP or a government official, can you expect new ideas to develop Zambia? Not at all. That is the calibre of people we have.
      For as long as we have 90% of such people, then BAD NEWS for Zambians.
      Unfortunately, they are in majority here.

  9. Right decision. Perfect move. Futuristic and helpful to Zambians being exploited by multichoice.

    formation of provincial tv studios a great move too.

    you cant ask for more

  10. since its now privately owned, why should we pay TV levy even when one does not own a topstar decoder? The levy was introduced because content was readily available once you switch on your TV which is no longer the case. I pay for DStv for all the content I watch including DeadNBC ( I am sure Multichoice pays DeadNBC for the contents they carry) then again I am levied for the TV. Its crazy!

  11. …ever heard of ..the camel and its master…this is exactly what is happening to mother Zambia..soon the Chinese will claim nearly every infrastructure..road toll fees will soon be collected by the Chinese…they will claim for whatever structure they have built..police headquarters, health posts…
    so now we shall be denied of any negative news from China…they will censor international news to toll the line of one china police….
    ..why then should we pay tv levy….was this the initial agreement when the tender was awarded…or a penalty for govt failure to fulfill its side of the agreement..?? ….colonisation comes in different form…

    • …some of the Chinese heavily indebted African states will soon be like Taiwan is to China…watch this space….during scramble for Africa in the early 20th century..China was left out..now is there time….since Mugabe fell with the west and turned to China what has improved in Zimbabwe apart from Mugabe family and his minions….saaaaad indeed

  12. They have simply failed to run ZNBC just the way they failed to run the mines,ZANACO,ZAMTEL.Oh cry my beloved Zambia!!One day we will just wake and hear that “60% of Zambia has been given to another country”

  13. Fellow Zambians, do you also realise the security risks of privatising a national broadcaster? Those Chinese can tomorrow reside to switch off broadcast as a majority share holder which can leave the entire country at risk whilst the foolish Minister & his family are evacuated to safety. TAKE BACK ZNBC!! We have enough land in Zambia for investors to come and build an entirely new station with all the modern facilities which in the process will also creat Mir employment in the media field… Let’s not follow this deal blindly

  14. I don’t understand the outrage, this is the boma you chose. Don’t be surprised when the whole country is sold because of indiscipline by those who manage the coffers!

  15. This deal certainly raises a lot of questions.Being a national broadcaster,giving away a larger stake (60%) to a foreigner in the name of a partner does not auger well with the aspirations of the country.

  16. “Yes, the government has partnered with Star Times to help with the provision of digital television under TopStar Communications. This decision is final and we will not reverse it as it is for the benefit of the country,” Mulenga told Journalists during a news briefing. This is arrogance at its worst, telling off stakeholders like that who are paying tax & tv levy. Stop collecting tax & levy from public since you have found new stakeholders. What will be the use & value of those digital broadcasting network & provincial studios after 25 years of which TopStar will be collecting all ZNBC advertising revenues & tower rental fees? Its the same Kamwala market shops deal where Chinese will be collecting rentals for 50 years & hand them back after they have broken down & design will be of no…

    • Its the same Kamwala market shops deal where Chinese will be collecting rentals for 50 years & hand them back after they have broken down & design will be of no use for the purpose. It will be just foundations or cracked walls inherited. Why not raise resources both in cash & kind from citizens to purchase what you want instead of loans where you get cuts?

  17. Please can we get our facts right. What is in place is that the government through ZNBC and Star times of China have formed a company called Topstar in which ZNBC has 40% and Startimes has 60%. This company will be the carear of all local channels. it will also provide extra international channels for the viewers who will buy the topstar decoder. an amount of K30 will be charged and this is the amount that will go to repaying the digitalisation loan. Topstar will not have anything to do with the operation of ZNBC. I hope this is clear enough.

  18. Public assets belong to nation, with government playing the role of good custodian. Unfortunately for government, the option of bad custodian does not exist. To the extent that government unilaterally sold the major stake of 60% to a foreign investor, government critics are free to accuse government of immoral conduct. Yes, there was no law that was broken per se in this transaction. However, the inclusive and consultative approach would have been more acceptable. That is why, the decision may end up getting modified or reversed by another government. The only viable alternative to privatize through public offers. In that case, the winning company would probably have been different.

    • topstar will not and i repeat will not collect collect any advertising revenue from ZNBC. Topstar will make money by charging K30 to the users of its decoder. Topstar will also charge a carrier fee to the local tv stations that will be carried by by the said company.
      This is factual and not speculation. ZNBC can not be sold without changing its operating Act of parliament. We as citizens should always get the right information on anything otherwise we will always be misled.

  19. Next it will be ZESCO that will have 60% of it given to another foreign company. And then Victoria falls! Why did we even fight for independence?

  20. They are using the Sale of DeadNBC to gauge the reaction of Zambians. If there r no protests then they know they can sell ZESCO to themselves in partnership with fake INFESTORS, just like the way Ronald Penza almost did.

    STOP sleeping Zambians!!! PAMA-FEE thugs are a bunch of crooked thieves. If they can steal an election, what more ZESCO & DeadNBC.

  21. The tower rentals are for what..do those towers receive/transnit for multichoice….next they eill increase charges to other users so it is uneconomical then topstar will takeover amd will be the only transmitter of pay to air tv……
    monopoly….. when a magician does a trick with his right hand always look at his left hand.

  22. Can someone go to court to stop this rot! Zambia is not for sale. Who negotiated this deal? I dont think the guy has brains

  23. I thought we who pay TV Levy should have been consulted before arriving at this so called final decision? Does this mean we will continue subsidizing the 60% Chinese stake? Was proceedure followed? Was every potential bidder given a fair chance or this was corrupt and selfish act meant to benefit a few? Something is not adding up here. If this is the final decision, then that should include TV levy. This should be the last time we are subjected to levies for which no one is accountable. Zambians, say no to exploitation of man by man!

  24. This case should be sent to the Constitutional court. What are opposition parties and NGOs for in Zambia? At least here where I am they are very active by taking such illegal actions to courts.

  25. So DeadNBC remains with 40%share chocholi 60% with the 20%difference guess who will have more control.expect most of the talking shows & entertainment programes scrapped like chintobentobe,smooth talk,Zedconnect,Born&Bred.e.t.c

  26. We just can’t standby and allow the illegal sale of a national asset. It doesn’t belong to PF. People let’s do something. Where are the lawyers?

  27. These are the people who have been accusing HH of privatizing the mines. Now they have privatized ZNBC to a country which does not allow foreigners to own more than 50%. Now you see what borrowing does.If for $273m TopStar will be collecting all ZNBC advertising revenues and tower rental fees, how many years will we pay for the billions of loans contracted under PF?someone should one be answerable for these corrupt deals

  28. Well,it’s akin to getting a bank loan,then you fail to pay back. The bank will attach your property in lieu of the loan. Don’t be cheated….this is exactly what happened here. In any case,ZNBC isn’t really a profitable entity,the tax payers were carrying it. What government wants to own a broadcasting entity anyway,in this day and age? Except a dictatorship.

  29. @Ben, with due respect it is not akin to a bank loan, the bank gets you to guarantee your loan with your property, if you fail to repay you lose all of that property. Secondly if it isnt profitable why would anyone want 60% they would exercise their right to the whole property and then sell to tne highest bidder. This is simply a case of an offset of a debt, not tied to the entity, against future income with the control of entity vested in the majority share holder.
    Nowhere that I have read states that this is a separate entity to znbc, on the contrary all official statements say that topstar now OWNS 60% of ZNBC and will collect all revenues for the next 25 years to cover a loan from a chinese bank.
    My question if that debt is repaid prior to the 25 years where does the money go…

  30. If debt not repaid in 25 years what happens,,
    A loan usually has an interest component , how is that structured now.how did we arrive at 25 years

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