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Zimbabwe paper’s questionable attack on Trustco

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As Techzim we are obliged to promote debate and dialogue. We were surprised to read an article in this morning’s Daily News (A Zimbabwe daily) that we believe was not generous with facts. The article’s opening shot begins by describing Trustco as “a company that appears to talk very big about itself”, and proceeds to stage a series of assaults on the company, most of it factually incorrect and misleading.

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Here are some corrections to some facts the paper twisted.

Daily News: “It appears that instead of embracing a relationship which enabled it to list on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange’s alternate market, the success seemingly got to the heads of the Trustco management. ”
Fact: Trustco was actually listed on the JSE in February 2009 and not “enabled” to do so after striking a relationship with Econet in October 2010

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Daily News: “Before Trustco managed to persuade Econet to use its technology, Trustco had only one other customer — Telecel Namibia — an operator with less than 200 000 customers.”
Fact: Telecel Namibia – (Trading as Leo) has at least 350 000 subscribers and not less than 200 000 as the article suggest.

Daily News: “Econet customers were incensed at the SMSes which Econet did not even know about.”
Fact: This cannot be possible as the company owns the infrastructure and messaging gateways on which they were sent. Furthermore if it indeed did not initially know – it eventually did due public outcry.

Daily News: “…within months of signing up Econet it had more customers using its platform than the entire population of Namibia.”
Fact: Ecolife did not have more people using it than the entire population of Namibia (1.6 million Ecolife subscribers vs 2.17 million Namibia’s total population)

It also failed to inform readers about the following:

  • The Daily News was once funded by Strive Masiyiwa-the founder of Econet Wireless
  • Econet is one of the paper’s biggest advertisers
  • Trustco was the first company to list on the JSE’s Africa Board,

Now, it’s not that Trustco are angels, but conflicted papers launching an attack like this really is unfair.


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9 thoughts on “Zimbabwe paper’s questionable attack on Trustco

  1. i think the corrected subscriber numbers that this article has given does not change the essence of the story that much…

    i think the daily news report stressed that from a business point of view, the decision to go to court was wrong because basically trustco’s revenue from the econet deal was probably 90% of its mobile revenue while the revenue to econet from the same deal was probably less than 10%(the percentages are mine-just to make the point that i understood from the report).

    so i dont think that your corrections change my understanding…correct me if am wrong?

  2. This article could also be headlined as “Techzim’s questionable attack on Dailynews.” In the pocket of trustco huh?

  3. wat trustco is doin can be done by many local software vendors
    havana basa avo
    we want smethng proudly zimbabwean

  4. @Gnhundu, the different subscriber numbers may not change the essence of the argument but a fidelity to the facts at least removes any hint of bias or lack of objectivity, which is what any good journalist should uphold.
    @Darren, that sounds like a nice soundbite but you make no attempt to substantiate why Techzim are in the’pocket’ of Trustco. On the balance of what I’ve read so far, the Techzim view seems to be more substantive

  5. Trustco’s Informanté fires sub-editor, reporter resigns
    TWO senior staff members of Informanté have left the weekly tabloid under a cloud of controversy following a report about Trustco’s dispute with Econet, its mobile partner in Zimbabwe.
    The Namibian has it on good authority that sub-editor Elizabeth M’ule has been fired and that senior reporter Brigitte Weidlich resigned.Trustco yesterday confirmed Weidlich’s resignation, but refused to comment on whether M’ule, also the co-ordinator of the Namibia Editors’ Forum, was dismissed or not. Neither journalist was available for comment.Informanté recently suspended both without pay after Weidlich reported on Trustco’s mobile deal with Econet Wireless going sour, and M’ule allowed the story to be printed.The paper’s action drew fire from the Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa), who accused Trustco of censorship and said there was nothing unethical about Weidlich’s reporting.By the time of going to press last night, Trustco had not answered any of the questions The Namibian sent to its new head of media, John van Heerden.These include why M’ule was fired when she was apparently found guilty on only one of three disciplinary charges. Also why Weidlich got a final warning when she too was only found guilty on one of three charges and had never received any warning before.Trustco also refused to comment on speculation that its executive committee was upset about Misa’s public statements on the matter and that they wanted a personal apology from the journalists.
    http://www.namibian.com.na/news/full-story/archive/2011/august/article/informante-fires-sub-editor-reporter-resigns/

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