Mugabe singles out Telecel

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has – for the first time – waded into the Telecel Zimbabwe (Private) Limited (Telecel) ownership debate, as local investors seek to increase their shareholding in the company.

Although the Zanu PF leader has suggested group founder and exiled businessman James Makamba had “cunningly outmanoeuvred” certain co-shareholders to boost his stake, he gave some veiled commendation  for the company’s empowerment model.

“…we also said we had to establish another system for our communities and that’s how Telecel was established apart from what NetOne was going to do. And Telecel was to take our war veterans, it was to take our other groups,” Mugabe said at a parliamentary luncheon this week.

Under the mobile group’s founding structure, Makamba and company had roped in the Affirmative Action Group  (AAG), Jane Mutasa’s Indigenous Business Women’s Organisation, Zimbabwe Small-scale Miners Association and the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association (ZNLWVA) as part of a broad-based ownership structure.

Even, though, the Zimbabwean president has singled out the Empowerment Corporation (EC) chairman for increasing his stranglehold on the telecoms group “on the sly”, Mugabe acknowledged that some hard-up investors, including Phillip Chiyangwa’s AAG and Chenjerai Hunzvi’s ZNLWVA had wilfully cashed in their shares.

The surprise remarks come as Telecel’s major local shareholder and investment group has sought to increase its interest in the Graniteside-based mobile firm to 60 percent, thus appointing Mugabe’s nephew Patrick Zhuwao to spearhead the process.

While the process is being undertaken to fulfil the country’s second largest telecoms operator’s licencing and indigenisation requirements, EC is also keen on the return of some of Telecel’s founding shareholders albeit on a commercial basis.

“…Zhuwao’s primary task and focus is the total transfer of 20 percent of Telecel Zimbabwe… to Empowerment Corporation. Already, EC has paid for 11 percent of that (stake) and awaits the transfer of the shares from Telecel International Limited,” Makamba told businessdaily in July.

At the time, he also said “negotiations and valuations” for the other nine percent – to 60 percent – were underway, and the investment group was positioning itself “to play a significant role in the indigenisation of Zimbabwe’s economy in various sectors”.

At the time of his appointment, Zhuwao said: “My mandate is to specifically ensure that Telecel complies not only with licensing regulations, but also with the indigenisation policy and law of the country.”

A founding Telecel shareholder through his stint as Integrated Engineering Group managing director and part of a technical team, which spearheaded Telecel’s establishment, the ex-Zanu PF legislator said he was hopeful of achieving a broad-based ownership of the Harare-based operator.
“Zimbabwe’s telecoms and ICT sectors have shown that the education provided in this country can actually result in the creation of significant, and indigenous-owned business,” Zhuwao said.

Comments (1)

Its now almost clear who is into Telecel. Mawar veterans,Chiyangwa ,Zhuwawo and all the other Zanu pf fat cats. Iwill not support Telecel come hail come thunder!!!!!!!!!! I remain an active Econet subscriber!

Mupfana weBikini - 1 October 2013

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