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Fam in tight spot

Wants out-of-court settlement

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George Kasakula

Under-pressure Football Association of Malawi (Fam) has engaged Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) to settle the broadcasting rights case out of court.

According to a letter in our possession from Destone and Company, acting on instructions of Fam, to MBC lawyers Makiyi, Kanyenda and Associates, the company has asked for an audience following advice from High Court Judge Michael Mtambo.

“At the hearing of the above matter on 20th December 2021, the judge constantly urged the parties to mediate or manage the contempt proceedings. In satisfaction of that constant reference by the court to possible settlement and in order to be able to report to the Judge in case this angle is raised, we have instructions to inquire into that aspect of this matter. As your client is the mover of the court, we will await any proposed settlement to emerge from your client,” reads the letter dated February 4th 2022 and signed by Patrick Mpaka.

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Ironically, the High Court Judge asked Fam to stop using Mpaka as he was conflicted in the matter.

Apparently, Makiyi, Kanyenda and Associates had earlier been served with a notice from Nyirenda and Msisha Legal Practitioners that they would represent Fam executive and directors in the case.

“Our firm has instructions to represent the 2nd to 15th Alleged Contemnors in this matter. Senior Counsel Msisha is counsel seized of this matter. We will file a Notice of Appointment of Legal Practitioner first thing tomorrow,” reads a letter dated February 9th.

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It means Fam executive headed by President Walter Nyamilandu and the association’s directors who were all sued will now be represented by Nyirenda and Msisha.

Meanwhile, the High Court has adjourned the hearing of contempt of court case involving MBC and Fam over broadcasting rights.

MBC dragged Fam and its entire executive committee to court after the State broadcaster was stopped from beaming the Airtel Top 8 Cup semi-final between Silver Strikers and Civil Service United at Bingu National Stadium despite the court order.

The hearing was supposed to take place yesterday before Judge Michael Mtambo.

However, the matter has been adjourned to allow parties attempt a negotiated settlement and then report back to court on February 23.

Lawyer representing MBC David Kanyenda confirmed the development.

Lawyer representing Fam Mpaka also confirmed that the matter has been adjourned. Mibawa Studios, who are content producers are being represented by Davis Njobvu of DNC Chambers.

The matter started in October 2021 when Makiyi and Kanyenda Associates on behalf of MBC obtained an injunction, restricting Mibawa Television from producing all football matches in the country.

Then, MBC challenged Fam’ decision to award a contract to Mibawa Studios as content providers for Mpira TV and also the naming of Zuku Television as the sole broadcaster of domestic football.

However, the High Court set aside the injunction which allowed Mibawa Television to continue producing for Zuku TV specifically Airtel Top 8 Cup matches.

High Court Judge Masauko Msungama varied the injunction in December to allow MBC beam the matches.

However, the State broadcaster did not beam any match in the Airtel Top 8 Cup.

Fam signed a new deal with Mibawa Studios and Zuku Television worth K350 million per year after a botched deal between the association and Malawi Broadcasting Network Limited.

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