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Simbarashe Mangwende and Farai Rwodzi are not Africom Bosses, says Africom

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Africom, one of Zimbabwe’s licensed internet providers, issued a press statement today advising stakeholders to stop referring two Simbarashe Mangwende and Farai Rwodzi as “Africom Bosses”.  The statement follows articles published yesterday in Zimbabwe’s daily newspapers in which writers referred to the two as Africom bosses.

As you may know, Simbarashe Mangwende and Farai Rwodzi were arrested and charged with espionage last year in October together with a telecoms technician, Oliver Chiku. The espionage case was later dropped but they remained accused of flouting Zimbabwe’s telecommunications regulations by installing satellite infrastructure and VoIP equipment without a license to do so. The articles yesterday, most titled “Africom bosses acquitted”, reported the acquittal of the three.

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When the 3 were arrested last year, Simbarashe Mangwende was Africom Acting CEO, a position he took up after the ouster of Africom founder Kwanayi Kashangura in July, apparently the result of a boardroom coup. Farai Rwodzi was a non-executive director.

Africom’s statement today basically says the two now have no ties with Africom:

Africom wishes to advise all its stakeholders that Messrs Simbarashe Mangwende and Farai Rwodzi resigned from the Africom Holdings Board  in December 2011.

They currently have no ties with Africom Holdings or any of its subsidiaries either at Board or at management level as of December 2011.

So it is naturally inappropriate to refer to them ass “Africom Bosses”. Any litigation or communication against the two is in their personal capacities and not against Africom as an organisation.

May all our stakeholders be guided accordingly.

We gathered from a source this morning that Simbarashe Mangwende’s tenure as Acting CEO was only from July to December and that he resigned from the position before it was even over. We also gather that the current acting CEO is now firmly Rudo Mudavanhu who, according to reports last year, was appointed to the position by former CEO Kwanayi  Kashangura.

Africom took today’s opportunity in the newspapers to congratulate (in a separate advert) new Africom board chairman, Paul Chimedza on his appointment which dates back to December 2011; the same time Mangwende and Rwodzi are said to have resigned. It’s strange they chose to come out congratulating Chimedza some 3 months after his appointment. Chimedza is also board chairman of the state owned media group Zimpapers and he sits on several other boards.

The Zimbabwe Financial Gazette reported in December last year that Paul Chimedza came on the Africom board during a period when ousted CEO, Kashangura, instituted a reshuffle of his board appointments in a bid to protect his interests in the telecoms company;

The Africom founder recalled another board representative, Cleopas Makoni, and replaced him with Bright Chidyagwayi, while Zimpapers chairman, Paul Chimedza was drafted in.

Chidyagwayi and Chimedza are still not on Africom’s list of board members, while Mangwende has retained his board seat as acting CEO.


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