It is not every day in Zambia that you will find a group of people coming together for a common cause. The scene is even more rare when it is a campaign against a perceived injustice. Add the force that social media has become, a campaign can be ignited in a matter of hours. Oh yes, since last week many have seen it necessary to summon the power of Facebook to right a 'wrong' that is about to befall the Zambian population. Unless the people stand united as one, many generations to come will suffer the consequences. This is a campaign of significant proportion that has to be taken. This is not a campaign to stop child marriages, or increase medicines in the hospitals. Neither is it to reduce road traffic accidents or reduce malnutrition. The campaign is against... wait for it.... Increase of DStv subscription.
You know you are part of the middle class when your worries do not include putting food on the table or your children's school fees but the impending hike of the DStv subscription. Last week it was reported that the prices of DStv would be hiked. It was initially rumoured that premium bouquet would cost K710 however, DStv confirmed that the price would be increased to K631 from K520 as of 1 April 2015. There would also be increases in the other packages. This news was not kindly received by many DStv subscribers, many calling it exploitation by a monopolistic organisation that keeps on showing repeat programmes. The vicious attack was so venomous that the passion oozed out of the words on social media primarily on Facebook. People called it an outrage, despicable, disgusting and just about every deplorable adjective under the sun.
Then to translate the distaste for DStv's decision a Facebook page was created called 'Zambians Against High DSTV Rates'. Talk of someone being proactive. In a few days it has over 10,000+ unhappy customers who are determined to take this bull by the horns. Many are calling for the a boycott from paying subscriptions in the month of April. They have vowed to squeeze DStv where it hurts. The boycott has continued to build momentum that the Minister of Information, Hon. Chishimba Kambwili wants to have a meeting with DStv management.
I am also quite disappointed at the pending increase in DStv subscription. However, I am not one of the 10,000+ who has liked the page against DStv neither will I be supporting a boycott. The simple reason is I have not been given a convincing reason why I should do it. Many people are arguing Zambia has the highest DStv rates in the region and some have even been bold enough to compare them to South Africa. It is ridiculous. Zambia and South Africa should not be mentioned in the same sentence period. DStv is from South Africa, its subscriber base is miles ahead of what Zambia's is, so surely you cannot compare the two. We have different tax systems in the regions whether it is Zambia, Malawi or Namibia. Therefore, even comparison with other countries outside South Africa is a difficult one to make. I do not think enough information has been provided to make a comparison. It is clear that the Zambian Kwacha against the dollar is depreciating at an alarming rate, this too coupled with inflation are a plausible reason to increase the rates. Some people are calling for a K50 increase. I do not know what DStv's costs are neither are they obliged to tell me. Are people saying that regardless of what expenses DStv encounters they should just increase by K50? This does not make business sense. DStv is a profit making business and not a charity organisation, it is also in a free market economy which allows it the flexibility to charge what it wants. It is playing within the rules of the game.
DStv is a choice, a person has the option to pay for it or not. DStv is a luxury and not a basic need. I believe no one is being threatened with their lives if they do not succumb to paying the subscription. If people believe that the price hike for DStv is too hire, they have a choice to not pay for it. One thing that we must not forget is that DStv is a private entity and therefore, we cannot dictate how it should run its operations. I hope that once the 'Zambians Against DSTV High Rates' are done with their campaign with the same vigour may they campaign against child marriages.
P.S. ZNBC still exists.