Topstar Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Leo Lio shows President Edgar Lungu the architectural map of how Satellites and other digital infrastructure will be constructed in Vubwi district to enhance information flow in the area

Dear President Edgar C. Lungu,

RE: APPEAL FOR YOUR INTERVENTION – TOPSTAR IS FRUSTRATING ZAMBIAN INVESTORS IN THE DIGITAL MIGRATION & BROADCASTING PROJECT

Reference is made to the above subject matter.

Kenmark Broadcasting Network (“kbn”) is a Zambian owned independent broadcasting network licensed to provide various programs of an entertainment, informative, educational and Christian nature. Kbn was successfully granted a Content Service Provider Licence – Commercial Free to Air by the Independent Broadcasting Authority in January, 2017. Following this, kbn applied at that time to the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation for a TV signal of which we were informed this was not possible at the time due to digital migration that was in progress and as such the bandwidth capacity had been exhausted.

We were later advised that kbn would be allocated a bandwidth capacity on the TopStar bouquet. All indications were that this would be made available early this year 2018. On the strength of this we sourced and secured office space to commence preparations for broadcasting and have been incurring operational costs since October, 2017. Some of the milestones achieved in preparation for commencing broadcasting include; contracting a consultant to get the studio and control rooms ready, we procured a loan to fund the purchase of high quality studio and broadcasting equipment, we started filming and producing a number of shows in readiness for broadcasting, we employed a multi-skilled team of 16 young talented Zambians comprising journalists, camera operators, video editors, marketing staff, transmission controllers, graphics designers and other support staff among others.

To demonstrate the channel’s readiness, we started conducting live facebook broadcasts for news at 19:00hrs and a breakfast show every morning from Monday to Friday. We have since suspended these trial broadcasts due to cash flow constraints arising from the network having not commenced commercial broadcasting. All the operating expenses including salaries were funded from resources of the local promoters and directors of the company. We wish to bring to your attention that earlier in the year, inspectors from IBA, TopStar and ZICTA came and conducted inspection and confirmed our technical readiness to commence broadcasting.

Your Excellency, the challenge we have continued to face is that TopStar the designated national signal carrier, claims that they do not have sufficient bandwidth to accommodate our channel on their bouquet. However, we are aware and were reliably informed that ZICTA provided enough capacity to TopStar but they have instead filled the available bandwidth with their own Asian content. Our understanding Your Excellency is that TopStar’s mandate is to be a national signal distributor and not to assume the role of a content provider as well. They cannot be both. As things stand, they are playing both roles of being a signal carrier as well as a content provider. This clearly has an adverse impact on competition and is depriving young Zambian investors such as ourselves who are ready and willing to add diversity to the Zambian television programming from entering the market and competing favourably. Your Excellency we know you are an ardent supporter and advocate of young Zambian entrepreneurs who are contributing positively to the socio-economic sector of the country.

We have had sight of letters from IBA instructing TopStar to ensure that our channel which fulfilled technical requirements be given space on the digital platform. However, the directive hitherto has been disregarded with impunity by TopStar citing capacity and bandwidth limitations. Your Excellency, we are well aware that it is the policy of your Government that Digital Migration must benefit Zambians. We are therefore extremely disappointed and shocked with the conduct of the appointed signal carrier who have vehemently refused to take our channel on board.

We must hasten to mention that IBA has given licensees the necessary support, but the challenge has always been the allocation of bandwidth which is a matter of contention between TopStar and ZICTA. Our frantic efforts to have this matter resolved through normal channels have yielded no fruitful results and we are left with no choice but to seek your intervention in this matter. Your Excellency, this state of affairs on a matter of public interest is not acceptable to us and we are sure will not be to you as well as it is an affront to your Government’s efforts to empower Zambians who genuinely want to play an active role in national development.

It is our sincere hope that our appeal meets your consideration for urgent intervention as the status quo is negatively impacting our ability to meet current financial obligations in the absence of full commercial broadcast programming.

We look forward to your positive response on the matter.

Yours faithfully,
THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
KENMARK BROADCASTING NETWORK

Cc: The Minister – Information and Broadcasting
Cc: The Minister – Transport and Communication
Cc: The Director General – Independent Broadcasting Authority
Cc: The Director General – ZICTA

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26 COMMENTS

  1. Sorry my brothers, but the Chinese run this country. There is nothing His Excellence president ECL can do to help you. If the Chinese masters have refused, then the president can’t help you. Our country and its resources have been sold to the Chinese. Our leaders sold their souls to the Chinese. We, the people, have also been sold

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    • The nation that did not have its own switching equipment was like one that lacked its own military;
      Ren Zhengfei….founder of HUAWEI.

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    • You can see the expression on Edgar’s face, totally blank! By all intents and perposes, the Chinese now run this country and their stooge is Edgar and his cohorts

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    • This is what Zambia has come to, under clueless Lungu’s administration. He has let the Chinese run the affairs in the country with no regard to any local laws. The Chinese are evidently in charge of Zambia now, while clueless Lungu is fast asleep. You can see that there’s something wrong here, when people can’t get help from anyone else but the president–like he’s a king. It means the system is totally rotten and corrupt to the core. This matter should have been resolved way before it even reached clueless Lungu. But most likely the government officials who should have resolved this issue are already in the pockets of the Chinese. The Chinese plan to take over Africa, with the help of some traitorous, corrupt, stup1t African leaders. And this plan is right on schedule…

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    • (Continued)… Africans will soon be in chains again–in their own continent. Wake up people.

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  2. Raise you complaint with ZICTA first ensure you have our facts right get a good lawyer Downstar will be pleading for mercy…

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  3. How can you run out of band width when you just migrated to a digital platform ?

    The best parliament can do is engage unbiased international media experts from the ITU to look at this topstar deal because when some of us tell you that topstar deal is a total loss for Zambia , you think we are UPNDs…….it is seriously disadvataging Zambians..

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  4. With lungu they corruptly promised you studios in all provinces that you paid for instead they give you 5 vans …….thats like paying for 14 houses and instead you get 5 camper vans and you see the PF kaponya rats ati ” lungu is working ” ???

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  5. Lungu rushed to China with his gang of theives to sign the topstar deal without due consideration to what unbiased international media experts were saying….now look. Young Zambians are not finding space on a supposed national digital platform.

    This is same as the RATSA partnership deal were lungu awarded lebanses of lamise to run our traffic management system …….what a loss for poor Zambians !……..a consortium of zambian universities , bussiness leaders and engineers should have been given that opportunity to be masters of our road management system , but the corrupt vissionless theif lungu gives it to lamise …..what traffic manegment experience do the Lebanese of lamise have ?

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  6. Really laughable…this is like a farmer complaining to a Shoprite Customer Assistant at the till for Shoprite management not taking his produce….Lazy Lungu sold out to the Chinks, only a lazy fooool can sell 60% of a national broadcaster to a foreign state company.

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  7. I do not believe the Chinese are above the president in as far as powers to rule are concerned. We would love for the president to act on this through the relevant authorities who have been copied to in this complaint letter. When these guys fail, then the cabinet can deliberate on the same and help the aggrieved lot to reach a win-win status quo.

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    • Do you know what controlling stake is? Do you know what 60% is? You have sold out to the Chinks you don’t even know what their agenda is in Africa (look at the photo)….go to Europe when you bump into Chink tourists they even laugh when they see black people.

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  8. They have already auctioned the country to the Chinese and now they are dancing to their tune. After taking bribes Dora slit has kept quite knowing full well that locals will be disadvantaged in the end. Imagine you have sent 5 incorrigible misfits to go and beg for loans including the one for top-star to be deferred and you expect your leaders to say otherwise to the economic colonizers? Just sit and cry so that next time when its time to vote you will vote wisely and not with your stomachs.

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  9. Why make public a letter that is written to the President. This is as confrontational as it is disrespectful.

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    • What is confrontational here my friend? This is an issue of public interest. By the way, if you wan Action from this government (((some semblance of action), make it public

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  10. Kbn went in the business without understanding how things go.

    The host the right

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  11. This sounds really sad! No wonder. Yes they are coming fast and furious than the former colonialists did. I remember what late MCS did, take back what RBB sold to Libya, Zamtel. I can imagine even Zamtel is now under TopStar armpits. Late Data had to grab Zamtel from Lybians for a reason, national security, sovereignty, independence, and or defence. It’s rather strange and interesting that the satelite and digital infrastructures candidate be in the hands of a foreign country. Is this really true? I have just waken up from my dream.

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  12. The CHINESE are invading our country , without any stoppage. Our Zambian owned businesses and employees are now being destroyed by them the Chinese. It is not their country, so they MUST BE KICKED OUT – IMMEDIATELY.
    The contracts awarded to them MUST BE cancelled, and given to Zambians. OUR Best overseas partners and TRUSTWORTHY financiers are from our AFRICA NEIGHBOURS.
    All Zambians must now stick together and enforce this action – NOW- NOT TOMORROW.

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  13. The Chinese are hard-working people and we should not be tribal and be belligerent to others because they are good at what they do!

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  14. The cost of corruptly awarded digital migration contracts has far reaching consequences on poor Zambians.

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  15. Reading through the blogs one gets the impression that there is war between the Zambians and the Chinese in Zambia. Zambians got Independence from the British more than 50 years ago. There were no chinese then, the Chinese have been coming in over the last few years. The question is where were the honourable Zambians all this time (27 years that KK was in power)? Those making noise about the Chinese do not even know how to build a pit latrin for themselves. They should insteady be asking for skills development institutions to teach them how to develop their country through skills development and not just making noise about the working chinese who are building roads, hospitals, airports etc.

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  16. This guy also. How can you start incuring costs on a verbal statement? And you want what? Have you never head of an MOU?

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  17. Should we walk naked down the streets for the president, the members of Parliament to hear us over this issue ….Africa is naked ,Mother Zambia is naked… No one to hear her ears, no one to defend her…. Iba,zicta can’t solve this problem…many licensed TV stations have never been carried by top star

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Comments are closed.