Blessings Chidakwa, Harare Bureau
THE ongoing reforms that are leaving no one and no place behind, including in the media sector culminating in the launch of a new television channel, ZTN Prime, are a clear testimony that President Mnangagwa is a true reformist.
Officially launching the Zimpapers Television Network (ZTN) Prime in Harare last night, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister, Monica Mutsvangwa, said she remembered well when President Mnangagwa was inaugurated and some journalists asked him how he wanted to be remembered by future generations.
“President Mnangagwa said he would like to be remembered as a reformist. A reformist who changes people’s lives, who makes sure he won’t leave anyone behind or any place behind,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.
“This is in line with this bold pragmatic pronouncement that we are witnessing here today. We are excited. It is a day to be very excited, we are witnesses to the sincerity of that bold move which the President took when he took over in this New Dispensation, which we refer to as the Second Republic,” she said.
Viewers will catch the Zimpapers-owned television channel’s programmes on DStv.
The launch of ZTN Prime, she added, was exciting and a testament that Zimbabwe has not only been open for business, but for broadcasting business.
“This is a phenomenal trademark of the Second Republic. This constitutional benchmark of this dispensation also makes Zimbabwe an optimal destination for capital.
“Therefore, I task ZTN to tell the authentic Zimbabwean story. ZTN is there to chart a new chapter of digital broadcasting. In the domain of broadcasting, it will strive to salivate the hunger for content for a nation which is blessed with so much talent.”
Minister Mutsvangwa said it brings so much pleasure to open up the airwaves to more television channels.
“What it means is that content creators will then have a chance to really do a good job and to be rewarded well for the job they do. This is a big achievement. Zimbabweans at home and abroad will have a chance to show their talent to the global world,” she said.
Zimpapers board chairman Mr Tommy Sithole said the launch is a milestone in the lives of Zimbabweans as there were some who were born, grew up and passed on knowing only one radio and television station.
“Things have changed over the past three years. This is an incredible development for such a short time. The Government has done incredibly well by not just talking about the liberalisation of the airwaves but by doing it,” he said.
Mr Sithole said the country had almost eight ministers of information since independence and they would just speak about reforms, but in just three years the Second Republic has delivered.
Speaking at the same occasion, Zimpapers Group Chief Executive Mr Pikirayi Dekete said the launch was the culmination of a long journey.
“A couple of years ago we decided to diversify from mono-media business to a multimedia one because we were beginning to see the movement of audiences from purely print formats to new formats.
“We realised that there was a lot of interest in video, radio and digital. We have done radio, digital and the final leg for us was video. Now that we have a partnership with Multi-Choice, we believe our content will be able to reach as many audiences as possible,” he said.
ZTN Prime general manager, Ms Nomsa Nkala, said they were excited to be launching the television station as it has been a long journey although with a few challenges, but excitement as well.
“It is a big night for us. We hope to go live from next week,” she said.
Multichoice Talent Factory director and former head of content strategy for Southern Africa, Ms Nwabisa Matyumza, said the deal was struck with ZTN Prime as they were the only partners with the “best”.
“We have worked so hard with the ZTN Prime team. The quality of the content people are about to see is nothing that Zimbabwe has seen before. The guys have really worked hard to ensure the quality meets international standards. That is what people should be geared to see and will be very proud,” she said.
Zanu PF director of information and publicity Cde Tafadzwa Mugwadi said it is quite a welcome development for the ruling party as the country’s story will now be told by its own people not outsiders who sometimes distort facts.
“With the coming on board of the new kid on the block it is clear that Zimbabwe now boasts free media spaces, freedom of speech and most importantly freedom of information.
“This is a cornerstone of the New Dispensation. Our hope as Zanu-PF is that our narrative as a country will be told from a patriotic angle. It is all that we look for and patriotism is not essentially what we say or make as our positions, but about what the Zimbabwean story is,” he said.