POLITICIANS, football authorities and fans in Botswana are piling pressure on their government to cancel a television broadcasting licence granted to Zimbabwe businessman Oscar Kubara after his Munhumutapa African Broadcasting Corporation (MABC) failed to honour a contract to bankroll the country’s premier soccer league.
The sponsorship deal was cancelled this week amid complaints from football authorities and fans that the soccer season was way behind schedule. Â
Reports from Gaborone said government officials and football authorities were also agitating for the deportation of Kubara and his business associates for allegedly lying that MABC would splash US$10 million (Pula 64,8 million) sponsoring the Botswana Premier Soccer League (BPL) for three years.
The corporation had replaced Botswana cellular giants, Mascom Wireless, which coughed up P4,5 million over the same period.
MABC and the BPL entered into the sponsorship agreement earlier this year, but the league failed to kick off after the broadcasting company failed to inject the money.
Kubara is the chief executive officer of MABC.
Premier League Committee (PLC) chairman Mokganedi Molefe this week said they parted ways with MABC and they were searching for another sponsor.
According to Botswana media reports, the PLC made a mistake by announcing that MABC would sponsor the league before the money was deposited in their account.
The reports said before MABC came on board, Mascom had offered an improved deal of P3,8 million per season but this was rejected by PLC. Be Mobile offered P11 million per season but things did not materialise as PLC were reportedly obsessed with MABC.
Kubara was quoted by the Sunday Standard of Botswana saying the “the funds come from a certain company in Australia”, adding the company was “among the foreign-based shareholders” of MABC TV.
Sources in Botswana told the Zimbabwe Independent yesterday that there was heavy lobbying by politicians, football authorities and fans for the government to cancel Kubara’s television licence and deport him and his business associates over the deal. Efforts to get a comment from Kubara were in vain yesterday.
Kubara’s MABC once broadcast in Zimbabwe when it was leasing airtime from ZBC’s TV2 10 years ago. An attempt to get a licence from the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe failed after it questioned the financing of MABC.
By Jeslyn Dendere