NATIONAL Restoration Party (NAREP) president Steven Nyirenda says closing down a media institution is deadly because once reopened, it may never recover financially.
And Nyirenda has advised media houses to be careful with politicians because they all disappear in times of turmoil.
Meanwhile, Nyirenda says he can’t join the UPND because it lacks vision.
Speaking when he appeared on Diamond TV’s programme dubbed COSTA, Monday, Nyirenda lamented that Muvi TV’s revenue plummeted from K7m to K800,000 a month after closure, on similar grounds as Prime TV, in 2016.
“Muvi TV used to have revenue up to even above K7 million per month. When they closed, our revenue dropped from K7 million to K800,000 and up to today, Muvi TV is suffering from that, it hasn’t recovered. If you close media for even one day, one hour, it goes down just like that. It made people lose employment, it made other services that we were giving, we had to close them and personally I have to come and bail [out the station],” Nyirenda, who is also Muvi TV proprietor, lamented.
And Nyirenda warned media houses to be careful with politicians.
“But I want to put a caution here I am in the opposition now, any one who is in media right now be very careful with us politicians especially us in the opposition, we will be with you [but] when you have problems, we will not be there to help you or bail you out,” Nyirenda said.
“I saw it with Muvi TV. When Muvi TV went down, up to now we lost revenue not even a single politician whether from the opposition or sympathizer of the ruling party came forward to say ‘you guys can I help you’? In fact, they even withdrew their adverts which were there because you become partisan of the ruling party it is a very tough battle.”
In apparent reference to former information minister Chishimba Kambwili, who is now NDC president, Nyirenda said it was unfortunate that the people who were in the forefront of closing Muvi TV were now running to the private media.
“The problem that we have here is that the politicians want to run the economy, it can’t work like that. Now they have gone into the media, they are looking at the media, any little thing that you are going to do, they are on you, they will write you a letter, they will tell you this, they intimidate the media, it is pure intimidation! What has just happened, I never thought it would happen again. You know they closed Muvi TV because they were afraid that Muvi TV will keep on putting the true picture of what was going on. within those 14 days of [the closure]. And they closed it unfortunately, some of the people who were part and parcel of closing Muvi TV, Komboni Radio and Ithezhi-tezhi radio they are now found in the opposition. They are the first people to run again to Muvi TV to, to run to Prime TV,” Nyirenda said.
“Me if I had a proper way of doing it, I would tell those people who are in government who closed Muvi TV to say ‘go and find other media to do than the ones you are closing’ but to answer to your question I think this is time that government should leave the media alone. It should just be able to guide if they make mistakes, they are like their children, get them, put them aside and tell them ‘look, this thing is not supposed to run like that, you have made a problem here, can you correct it’. You just don’t go and kill even your own child at home when he makes a mistake, you don’t go and kill.”
Nyirenda said he had warned Prime TV proprietor Gerald Shawa over the way he ran the station.
“At my time, I fought with journalists every day because whether it is poverty or not politicians want to give money to journalists and then they will sneak in news items that are favoring a specific person or specific individuals. They are not actually following the ethics, the code of conduct in journalism and that is what you see every day. Truth be told, I spoke to Mr Shawa several times. You see, what was now of Prime, Prime became like a voice for the opposition, it’s wrong. Not that I want to commend Muvi TV, even here where I am sitting because I don’t differentiate between Muvi TV and Diamond TV, we are coming from the same tree, they at least try to balance and even if Muvi TV was closed, it used to balance,” Nyirenda said.
“I would advise Mr Shawa not to go the legal way. It’s wrong, it’s better to seek dialogue and exhaust everything else before you want to go to the Judiciary. I want to tell the government that Mr Shawa is running an institution where a lot of people directly or indirectly who are giving services to the nation and we need them. I would also want to say that Mr Shawa is like a child of the government, sit him down give him specific punishment, but not to close him up. Government have a soft heart, talk to him and open Prime TV, it is the good of the nation.”
Meanwhile, when asked why he did not join UPND because he was close to its leader Hakainde Hichilema, Nyirenda said that party had no vision.
“UPND has been actually ruling for the past 15 to 20 years. UPND has more than 10 constituencies, districts, they should have shown us just one, turn it up side down, they have the muscle to do it. When I talk to my friends, I say ‘a district or a city council is the richest society in any country’ because they own everything in that city, the roads, the land they can turn that into anything and change how it looks and UPND has not changed not even one single, for me that’s why I say there is no vision. If there was vision, they would have turned one constituency and showed us that this is how I’m going to run this country. The other time, a person was telling me about CDF, you can’t run a district using CDF. K800,00 is for other people, they used to shop at Shoprite, you need proper resources, and the resources are the youths, number two; the land number three; the brains to make sure what you have you create wealth,” said Nyirenda.
Nyirenda predicted that he would win next year’s general election.
“I am the president of NAREP. I bring in a new vision, I bring in principles I am bringing in direction. If we don’t make it in 2021, then I’m not worth it to be a leader. I am telling you in 2021, we are winning these elections. I know where I am stepping. A lot of people out there are teaming with us,” said Nyirenda.