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Alba Iulia
Saturday, June 6, 2020

Prime TV drags Government to Court over severance of business relations

Headlines Prime TV drags Government to Court over severance of business relations

Prime Television Zambia has dragged the Zambian Government, Top Star Communications Company Limited and Multi Choice Zambia Limited to court over commercial relations which Government decided to severe.

In a petition filed on 31st March 2020 by LCK Chambers run by Linda Kasonde, Prime TV has asked the High Court to declare that their rights as provided for in Article 20 of the Constitution were violated when Government decided to cut business ties after its proprietor Gerald Shawa told Government that the Station was not prepared to broadcast free adverts to sensitise the public on preventive against the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Prime TV has asked the High Court to declare the decision by Government to cease all commercial transactions with the station as being unconstitutional. In addition to compensation, the petition by Prime TV is further seeking a quashing order against, usually obtained from judicial review, against the decision of the Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services Dora Siliya to cease all business cooperation with the station.

The Station is also seeking an order that TopStar Communications Ltd and Multi Choice Zambia Ltd cannot remove Prime TV from the TopStar decorder at the direction of Government which has shares in TopStar Communications Ltd.

The strain in commercial relations between Prime TV and Government has been filed by LCK Chambers as a human rights issue under Article 28 of the Constitution of Zambia.

[Read 3,239 times, 1 reads today]

70 COMMENTS

  1. PF drunk with power this is certainly abuse of power and authority. Just because you have a gun doesn’t mean you can shoot any how in any way. This is democracy, we don’t want stone age mentality. Abash Lungu and Dora Siliya!

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  2. Good step by Prime tv. I hope they’re also seeking compensation for loss of business. Whn govt has been known to give tax incentives to foreign companies, here’s a Zambian company holding its own in a difficult business environment characterized by high inflation, high interest rates, delayed payment for services rendered by govt agencies and govt itself wants to drive it out of business. Shame, shame, shame , a million times shame. Buluya.

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  3. PF government is failing to contain corona virus and want to control the media. They have failed to lockdoen the country and leave only essential services to the public. I hope the court will be fair but judging from the past biasness, the PF government is the Alpha and Omega of Zambia. Zambians will perish under this reckless PF government. They stole all the monies and worried about where to get more loans to finance their crooked deals. Time is over and slowly time to account is here.

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  4. Another mistake. Court cases can drag for a long time. By the time this saga ends Prime TV may be on its knees.
    The best would have been to negotiate, especially after that apology. Find someone mature to mediate on your behalf. Linda will just milk you the little you still have.

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  5. Spot on, John Chinena. The problem with opposition is they are so predictable and lack rational and strategic thinking. Shawa showed predictability by throwing childish tantrums over a national issue. Then he rushes to the same group of lawyers who have failed upnd time and time again in its legal war against PF…..yaba….

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  6. Commercial case taken to human rights court. What a dull lawyer Linda is! Prime TV, Linda will is preying on your money

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  7. Wrong cause of action.
    These lawyers sometimes I wonder their thinking capacity.
    They where suppose to sue separately.
    1. Judicial review against Attorney general.
    2. Commercial court against topstar
    3. Commercial court against multi choice Zambia.
    There where suppose to be three separate legal suit.
    At most even two would have saficed joining topstar nd dstv in one suit in commercial court nd judicial review against siliya.
    They risk the matter being dismissed for luck of jurisdiction by the court they have gone to.
    Relief sought are of judicial review which multi choice Zambia does not fall under because its a private entity.
    So if multi choice have good lawyer’s they apply this quash the proceeding

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  8. Our country is headed for a disaster. There’s no leadership. We’re being driven by hatred. We have failed to manage. For once we must start thinking as Zambians.

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  9. Yaba, drama ba Linda Kasonde. She doesn’t even know where commercial court is located. Now I understand why pipo don’t pass ziale at first instance

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  10. Jokes! Jokes! Jokes! And tomorrow these very lawyers accuse judges of bias, being unqualified, favouring govt, etc. No judge would entertain such petition. Linda wants to boast ha NGO activities using law firm but prime will come out more bruised.

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  11. Prime TV reporters on UPND payroll are destroying what was once a balanced station. Shawa has fallen into the trap unknowingly.

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  12. @John Chinena, u right. Prime TV is messing it’s relations big time after a good gesture. Listening to News Diggers editorial to drag Govt to court, me shocked. And now Linda deliberately goes to wrong court. Why not just negotiate than make prime tv lose case. This may sink our station. These lawyers re interested with making names and money

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  13. I can predict Prime TV will withdraw this petition or Linda will be amending it before it embarrassingly falls. Very weak case

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  14. Shawa u hot a reason to scratch yo head. The lawyers u hired re doing some publicity stunt than wanting u to win case. Wrong court and yo apology was enough. But when the gods want to destroy someone, they use lawyers

  15. And people were saying this guy is sorry and that we should forget and welcome him back with open arms. Well he is proving exactly what we said he was- an arrogant disrespectful upnd cadre. There are many other genuine zambian companies that can onky dream to work with government. Who does this boy think he is? Let upnd continue paying him. As for us we will meet you in court. Better have a very good lawyer because when you lose we will ensure you pay costs. Kz

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  16. Whether the Government is democratic or not be prepared for consequences when you start fighting it. Gerald Shawa was very adamant and demeaning towards Government when asked to help with Covid-19 adverts. He literally lambasted Government. I THINK GOVERNMENT THOUGHT HIS APOLOGY WAS NOT GENUINE.
    Even in USA, the biggest democracy, Michael Avenatti who represented Stormy Daniels against Donald Trump is in very hot soup and is heading for a long jail term on unrelated cases.
    A PIECE OF ADVICE: IF YOU TRY TO FIGHT GOVERNMENT MACHINERY YOU WILL ALWAYS COME OUT OF IT WOUNDED. ALWAYS PLAY IT SAFE IF YOU WANT TO WIN. DON’T OPENLY SHOW THAT YOU ARE FIGHTING THEM.

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  17. Kalaluka should put all senior lawyers on the case, even 20 of them and ask the court to dismiss this case with costs. Then send a bill to Prime TV.

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  18. Prime TV should have used Vincent Malambo law firm. This Linda has messed them up. But best route was to negotiate, humble yourself and find neutral persons. Prime will lose case and money. Shawa open yowa eyes!

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  19. Even a simple layman from Mushakende knows Linda had trouble to determine what grievance should be presented to the High Court under Article 28 but she decided to go it anyway because she read in News Diggers that Prime TV must sue the State. The editors at News Diggers were once at the Post Newspaper and does not mind Prime TV winding up using same court route but Gerald should mind because of investment he has made in Prime TV. The wrong advice will cost them and soon they may get to be history. How much is Prime Tv willing to pay in costs for this weak petition?

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  20. “Human rights issue”? I don’t get it….I think this is a bit of a stretch. A business relationship can be severed at any time if either party is unhappy. Especially one without a contract.

    I think just like anybody else, Govt has the right to pick and choose who it does business with on behalf of the public. I doubt there is a law that compels Govt to engage in business with every media (radio or TV) in Zambia. Other than providing an enabling environment through regulation and licensing, Private media should live or die based on the soundness of their individual business models. And not based on Govt handouts or patronage like Public media. PrimeTV should now feel free and happy to go forth and MAKE MONEY without being bothered by Govt, right? Govt did NOT yank their Operating…

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  21. Continue…

    License, so I see no reason why PrimeTV should even be suing.

    Just remember on thing though, PRIDE is one of the seven deadliest sins….so be careful and humble next time ba Shawa/PrimeTV!

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  22. Prime TV has no matter and will just lose more money will the lawyers will walk away smiling. The station has not been banned. They can cover any other events around the country except Govt won’t accord them their platform. This is purely business, commercial and not human rights. Their is no infringement of article 20 as no pronouncement is made to stop them. Why waste the Court’s time when u should have been seeking avenues to reconcile?

    Prime TV should also emulate Diamond TV and muvi TV which covers everyone else. For Prime TV reporting, it’s UPND links is clear. Just look at news analysts. Shawa, your reporters, editors and analysts are destroying what you have built over a longer time.

    Just withdraw the petition, take charge of affairs of your station which some people…

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  23. Ethically you don’t cast aspersions to your fellow lawyer even if he or she is wrong. Lawyers argue cases in court and never in public . One state counsel advised me to be always professional and never behave talk like politician.

  24. Just as no teacher can call a pupil dull and so no lawyer can call another lawyer dull. Linda is a good lawyer just the Attorney general is a good lawyer.

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  25. Linda is a damn good lawyer but tainted with subtle politics that her judgment is beclouded when making decisions. This is one decision which shouldn’t have been before High Court as human rights matter. But her dilemma is understood. Govt and Prime have no contract and no formalised legal relations but Shawa was advised to go to court. My advice is seek other avenues to make peace otherwise Prime will lose out on this one

  26. I did not know you can sue some for refusing to do business with you. Again this is Linda Kasonde we are talking about. Shawa should have gone to HH to ask for money to pay for his workers. My advice to Shawa the best HH will do to help you is visit you at Woodlands Police. He is a greedy tonga to help you with money.

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  27. This one is lost cause by Prime TV. Thought Vincent Malambo was company lawyer. Bad petition this one!

  28. But I dont understand< Shawa apologised to Government but they went ahead with the top star move. My advice to Shawa is to just stop this fight because you can never win a fight with the government. Remember how Mmembe thought he was untouchable, where is the Post Newspaper today?

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  29. Shawa, the first problem your station has is way it stiffles divergent views, promote negative energy. Your reporters sensationalize matters. Your news analysts are known UPND cadres and very inflammatory in analysis. If u go with this kind of behaviour in 2021, Prime becomes a danger to national unity. Ultimately, this isn’t about u. Prime was built on good foundation but new reporters you brought are worse off than the ones you chased.

    On this petition my brother, just withdraw it and go kneel until when they hear u. Save the station. Pride is what killed Mmembe and his Post. Linda will walk away happily with cash but u be the ones and your workers suffering consequences. Not every matter must go before Court.

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  30. Shawa thz battle shouldn’t hve bin in court in first place. Your lawyers re messing to investment up. You did well to apologise. You should ve kept quiet and let the Zambian public be judges. Now look how yo lawyers acted. This is business relation and not human rights. Just stop it and move on

  31. Sever and severe are two different words ba LT na imwe. Anyway yes, Prime TV is right to seek redress. My only worry now is the perception the judiciary has earned itself over time. I hope justice will be done with correct interpretation of laws. ZIALE must also step up its vetting so we hopefully roll back what is being perceived as chaff going through broken sieves.

  32. Prime TV is seeking redress before a wrong court. This is where ziale must always do in-house retraining for those who passed through it. This one, attorney general will bank with smiles. Linda why?

  33. Let’s just say it was a mistake for Prime to go this legal route. It may leave the station limping. The case itself is not a good matter for claiming bill of rights protection

  34. Well done Prime TV, that is why we have courts in the country. Even if there was a delay in the jurisdiction, a precedent will have been set to avert future abuse of power, You are on the right path. Those who understand precedents of jurisdictions will know and those who professionally blog for PF and are as usual blank will remain there.

  35. Take them on Prime, take them on. Even put a habeas corpus, you have a good case, Very strong case for that matter. And why is nobody taking ZNBC to court for it having being turned into a party broadcaster, these too need to be whipped.

  36. To correct most people here, the High Court is a court of unlimited jurisdiction, that means they are able to hear all matters, be they civil, criminal or indeed commercial. those saying the matter should have been taken to the Commercial court are wrong, the commercial court, as a matter of practice, requires strict evidence of contractual breach.
    The matter would have no merit in the commercial court, and the High court will determine the contitutionality of Siliya ordering Prime journalists away from government events as well as her ordering Top star to remove the station.
    Argue with me on this….

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  37. @ The Advocate (not a legal advocate obviously) and Maj Juku… You cannot have one case in three different courts or have the same course of action in different courts! Same applies to Chenda, this matter is not strictly commercial, and therefore, does not belong in the commercial court.
    And lastly, @ KAIZER, my favourite PF blogger, the Director of Intelligence, does him apologizing warrant that he does not sue? does the suit mean that he is insulting the government?

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  38. Spiderly Existence, this case falls on question whether a commercial relation can be litigated on the basis of human rights. What Prime has raised before Court is a human rights violation over a commercial matter between parties. This whole case does not make sense and am 100 percent sure if the petitioner doesn’t withdraw it in it’s current form, it’s bound to fail on early stages. Prime TV should have sought for judicial review and petition under Article 28. My best advise is Shawa must have taken a back seat and just keep knocking on govt doors to normalise relations. Remember the Post Newspaper thought they had a strong case and we know what happened

  39. At Chenda, they have filed under Article 28… coicidentally, I ask you to find that article and tell me what it says.
    With that being said, there are damages that can arise from a violation of a consitutional provision, and those damages may be commercial in nature, as is the case here. The question, is not, as you ut it, litigating a commerical matter on the basis of human rights, but rather, can one litigate a human rights matter with of view of obtaining commercial settlements? An emphatic yes is the answer!
    Most human rights and constitutional matters almost alwasy have an underlying commercial interest. You sure on the basis of the most important right, and the other rights follow afterwards. I wish we could look at the statement of claim.

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  40. @ Chenda, I must add, the commercial detriment that Prime is suffering now is as a result of the Constitutional breach by Government’e decision to bar Prime Tv and also the direction by the government to remove the station from Topstar.
    There has been no strict failure of commercial obligation by the government! but that act (of human rights violation) has made Prime TV suffer commerical detriment.
    By and large, the logical thing is to sue under Human rights and the resulting commercial damages.
    Additonally, questions of consituitonal breach as relates to journalists and their freedom to operate can come in as well. Do you disagree?

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  41. PF MP WANTS JUSTICE TO PREVAIL OVER BEATING HE SUFFERED FROM KAIZAR…says Chicago bar is scared to provide footage to police
    By Patson Chilemba
    Chitambo PF member of parliament Chanda Mutale says he wants justice to prevail over the recent case where he was allegedly beaten by President Edgar Lungu’s former political advisor Kaizar Zulu.
    Giving an update on the matter to Daily Revelation, Mutale said he had finalised giving his testimony and those of his witnesses to the police over the recent incident where he was allegedly beaten by Zulu and his thugs at Chicago bar in Lusaka.
    Mutale, who is also PF Central Province chairperson, said the owners of the bar have refused to provide CCTV footage of the incident to the police out of fear, challenging Zulu himself if he was being genuine…

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  42. This is how stupid, *****ic and foolish people can be… Shawa is reported to have regretted what he did and apologized but he’s going to court… Ok now let’s wait for this case until after 2026!!!

  43. We will be keenly watching developments in this case. Knowing Zambian judges they will look for every loophole in the statutes to exonerate the government

  44. Abuse of media will not be condoned and infact Prime TV asked for it.Govt is also in business so if prime TV refused to do business so what else do they want,that day he was apologizing today court case meaning he is not certain, he doesn’t know what he wants to do.

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  45. PF running the country like Katemba how can you just wake up and kill a big business like that mafia style what kind of democracy is this Ba PF democracy is a rule of the majority a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them forcing bill 10 on the people closing a TV station by force is it democracy or dictatorship.

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  46. Apologies and litigations from the offended at the same time.?????. Courts have closed on account of the Corona pandemic, please. Just talk on phone and burry the hatchet, we want concerted effort in fighting our one common enemy – Corona.

  47. Kalombo above puts it nicely. This is a case to be negotiated. Here is what I would have done had I been in Gerald’s position. Identify a prominent person in the country whose ear Chagwa has, .i.e. RB, KK, Chikwanda among other political players and Chitimukulu, Gawa, Mpezeni amongst prominent chiefs. Go quietly engage, and by the way for the chiefs don’t forget the “goat”, and plead my way out and hope for the best. In any normal democracy the courts prevail. Take CNN’s Jimmy Costa’s brushes with Trump and how his WH press pass credentials where withdrawn and how the courts came to the rescue. Unfortunately that is not the case here. The constitution grants so much power to the executive.

  48. Who was right btwn Galileo and the Catholic church? Yes, they killed him but who was right? Is it fighting govt to decline a request from them? I don’t know wht fighting God is like. God is a concept which one can accept or decline to accept. Concepts are not living things. They exist in the mind of a living person.

  49. Shawa, they say umweo wa muntu waba mukutwi. People warned you but you have followed those who were advising you wrongly. It’s not too late, you can withdraw the case and humble yourself genuinely. Remember you were too arrogant, I personally watched you and that moment, I knew you were going to hit a wall soon.
    Those people advising you will not be there to take care of your family. Stop being political and run your media like a business man.

  50. It really frightens me when people support draconian moves by government targeting independent media. Just because you are a cadre does not mean all days are the same. The snake your nurture today will bite you tomorrow.. Be warned. You even site Fred MMembe as an example. Fred is smart. He smiled all the way to the bank. Today Fred is not poor by any means. He just withdrew to lead a political life while enjoying what he worked for over many years. So shawa will not be a casualty in this issue.

  51. Gerald Shawa – what an as stubborn and arrogant human being he is! No wonder his so-called apology was simply NOT genuine. All he wanted to do was to salvage his declining business fortunes! Unfortunately for him government could not be outsmarted.

  52. Even if I killed a mosquito I would not hire Linda Kasonde to defend me! What a disappointing woman. How did some of these ‘lawyers’ pass ZIALE exams??

  53. Gerald Shawa has really grown big-headed. Instead of humbling himself, the chap now wants to fight the Government of the Republic of Zambia! What a f.ool..

  54. So Gerald and his Prime TV now thinks they are untouchable?? Shame, what kind of arrogance is this!

  55. Prime TV should actually thank government for allowing it to broadcast the propaganda that it does on behalf of HH and his UPND. Otherwise in a normal society this primitive and divisive TV station should have been closed ages ago!

  56. Prime TV has become as toxic as those media houses in Rwanda that caused genocide. Those stations had their defenders who loved the idea of killing the “cockroaches”. Prime TV is slowly leading us to that time. Shawa must take charge of his station from those hired reporters but also govt must not go the Post route. This situation require compromise. Both sides must put demands on the table before mediator and an amicable solution found. My fear tho is Prime TV is being used to forment anarchy post 2021 elections. Too many bad eggs in editorial and reporting team

  57. MMmm, it is not heard of where a customer is taken to court for stopping doing business with a supplier. Prive TV said it could not work with GRZ unless it is paid , then GRZ says okay I am stopping all business I have with you…I will also tell all my agents to do so. Then Prime says I am taking you (GRZ) to the court of law for stopping dealing with me. MMmm guys this is unheard of. Any way let us wait and see.

  58. Shawa must learn to develop maturity in the sphere of business which should be established to capture a wide range of customers (clients). Business in agriculture, manufacturing industries or media platforms, is a long term venture. But Shawa has exposed his genetic make-up by associating with a crop of questionable Lawyers who are well known vultures geared to prey on Prime TV;s limited resources. In the final analysis the short-term pride that Shawa has evolved will cost him long lasting plights of being ignored by major stakeholders controlled by Govt. Simple arithmetic entails that many supporters of PF will shun his business connections..But the predator Lawyers would have milked Prime TV’s financial savings and damp him later. . Arrogant stunts does not pay in business.

  59. Linda, how can a licensee surely sue the Licenses? Is there no other means to resolve your issue, assuming you have also written to GRZ? Since the matter has now been taken to Court Hon. Dora can now shut down Prime TV until 2022.

    This is exactly the same problem of UPND trying to stop Parliament from enacting laws which is unheard and impossible. America has just passed laws for Automakers to start making Covid-19 equipmentso by military decree!

  60. Linda, how can a licensee surely sue the Licenser? Is there no other means to resolve your issue, assuming you have also written to GRZ? Since the matter has now been taken to Court Hon. Dora can now shut down Prime TV until 2022.

    This is exactly the same problem of UPND trying to stop Parliament from enacting laws which is unheard of and impossible. America has just passed laws for Automakers, etc to start making Covid-19 equipments by military decree! So why should Prime TV make money over Covid-19????

  61. The litigation action nullifies Gerald’s apology, Period!

    Hon. Dora, you can proceed to decree CLOSURE of Prime TV since we are in situation of world emergency to teach other stations and countries on the seriousness of Covid-19!

    Wherever Lindale is, and says there is KaFwaFwa!

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