AAG should demand Telecel stake: Mliswa

HARARE - A new lobby group, Zimbabwe Economic Empowerment Council (ZEEC), says the Affirmative Action Group (AAG) must demand reinstatement of its shareholding in mobile operator Telecel, instead of protesting the resignation of CEO Francis Mawindi.

AAG chief executive Davidson Gomo has been protesting the ouster of Mawindi, who is set to be replaced by Swiss national John Swaim on an interim basis.

ZEEC’s national executive council met in Harare yesterday where they resolved that the AAG was “totally misguided.”

“AAG should not comment on the fired CEO, they should concern themselves with AAG shares, where did they go?” ZEEC president Temba Mliswa asked after the meeting.

“The fired CEO has nothing to do with empowerment. They should be commenting on their shareholding.”
When Telecel’s licence was issued in 1998, a nine percent stake in the company was given to AAG, but the shares were lost along the way.

Telecel was not immediately available for comment yesterday on the AAG shareholding.

Telecel Zimbabwe is currently 60 percent owned by Telecel Globe, Orascom’s sub-Saharan African unit, and 40 percent owned by Zimbabwe’s Empowerment Corporation, a consortium of local shareholders. A 11 percent stake in Telecel has been up for grabs as the company moves to comply with indigenisation laws.

“War veterans, women, what happened to their shareholding,” Mliswa said.

The new lobby group also resolved that Indigenisation minister Savior Kasukuwere’s drive against foreign-owned banks, pointedly Standard Chartered Bank Plc, Barclays Bank Plc, South Africa’s Standard Bank and MBCA to transfer 51 percent shareholding to locals, was misplaced.

“On indigenisation, we resolved that banks shouldn’t be indigenised, banks don’t have assets,” Mliswa said.

“The minister must understand that banks hold money for depositors.”

He said banks should just be forced to financially support land reform.

Kasukuwere has said the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act was irreversible and there will be no sacred cows in its implementation.

Mliswa said Kasukuwere admitted “mistakes” in empowerment deals he brokered with multi-million dollar foreign-owned firms and bondaged Zimbabwe to a huge debt when he signed the $971 million Zimbabwe Platinum Mines Limited (Zimplats) indigenisation deal.

“We urge him to correct the mistakes quickly,” Mliswa said.

“We don’t want any shares to be warehoused. They must give shareholding to war veterans, to the disabled.” - Gift Phiri, Political Editor

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