Telecel Zimbabwe strangely promotes James Makamba on social media

L.S.M Kabweza Avatar

makambaUsually, the content companies generate on social media platforms like Facebook is centered on the company’s products; what new products they have, helping customers understand them, responding to customer questions about products, promotions etc… generally, the content is related to building the company’s brands by engaging social media users. Telecel Zimbabwe is doing it a bit differently though.

We can only describe some of their recent Facebook updates as, strange; the company is using its page to promote an individual, the Telecel Zimbabwe chairman, James Makamba.

Done by any other company (and even Telecel itself at a different time), we’d probably just gloss over it and move on. But Telecel Zim is in a very particular situation right now, one that would cause anyone that see this to wonder what more its about. The situation is this:

  • James Makamba, as chairman of the Telecel Zimbabwe, was mostly a background player. In the sense of prominence in the media that is. His name started appearing when former CEO, Francis Mawindi, was “fired” in March this year.
  • The Zim Government has threatened to not renew the Telecel license unless the company transfers majority shareholding to locals. The license expires next month.
  • The shareholding issue has been rocking Telecel for a while now and this renewal period may define how Telecel will be structured onwards.

If you are wondering what kind of strange chairman promotion the company is running on its Facebook page, check out these screenshots we took;




  1. Disgruntled Reader

    erm how is that strange, Telecel Zimbabwe is a private company which was co-founded by James Makamba, he’s not just the chairman he’s a major shareholder and founder. Would you have issues with Econet talking about Strive or Virgin Mobile talking about Branson ?

    Techzim you are so obviously and consistently biased against Telecel in your reporting, how is this news? . I respect your platform, impartiality would be improve your credibility.

    1. Méh

      Just to quote techzim “Usually, the content companies generate on social media platforms…….customers understand…….products, promotions etc”
      Do you feel gossip news is Tech News?

    2. Ezra TheITGuy

      There is no bias here, when there is news about Telecel they always get coverage from Techzim. This is constructive criticism from Techzim telling you kuti dont do “chimuseyamwa” we like Telecel the brand, market that not Makamba!

      1. Member
        1. MI5


    3. Fartsomann

      I think this is very strange of a company especially in the circumstances of Telecel. Why waste time promoting an individual instead of their products?

    4. Time

      How is this article biased against Telecel? I myself am a big Telecel lover and found no offense to this article but rather found an interesting read from one tech journalist.

    5. DanielK

      Kabweza’s shallow and biased articles are infuriating and frankly they are irritating now. He could as well retire, and get into Econet full-time. This part time nonsense has gone on for long enough! We need objective journalism!!!!!

      1. Wonbc

        I think we also need objective readership, I like Telecel but was also puzzled by seeing those Makamba promotions on my favorite network! Surely if they continue, I will dislike its pages! Actualy I am surprised why Makamba is letting this happen? Is he campaigning or what?

      2. tinm@n

        He isnt a journalist… as far as I think I know. Blogs like this just write on a special interest, in this case technology in Zimbabwe.

        A bit extreme on retirement. You could also close the page and block yourself from ever accessing it if it annoys you that much. There are alot of Firefox extensions and smartphone apps that can help you there.

  2. #JustSayin

    Looking at the number of Econet stories on Techzim and the number of Econet Ads on Techzim, I would say this article was drafted by Econet and passed on to Techzim for publishing.

    I have also noticed, over time, that all Econet news on Techzim is positive news while most every other non-Econet Telecoms stories have negative connotatiions

    I enjoy Tech news on TechZim, but ignore anything that starts with ‘Eco’.

    Before the hate begins:
    >TechZim is free to write what they want
    >I am not going to start my own blog, I will keep reading techzim

    1. L.S.M. Kabweza

      Almost responded to the wild accusations, then i thought, I have work to do…

      1. Time

        Keep doing what you’re doing TZ…though a little bashing of Econets high data prices and disappearing airtime wouldn’t do you harm…at least with us readers but with your friends Econet..hameno.. :p

      2. kmberi

        Tehehe it wouldn’t be a tech blog without the odd vigorous flame war!

        1. tinm@n

          Too true. Flames and trolls are the sauce of all tech sites. Where no facts are considered e.g “…the number of Econet Ads…”, one just cant reply. Its like you get tired instantly

      3. tatendataa

        yah keep working, an empty drum makes the most noise… i just cant help it…. i love ur articles

  3. bob

    Hapana apa! Techzim is right! Why advertise an individual. He is also right to ask – why now? Why now? Pane nyaya dze indeginisation dziripo ka apa.

    1. Member

      Then tipirei tinzwe makuhwa acho so that we are on the same page

  4. So says

    Just saying and Disgruntled reader….we assume u are on the Telecel payroll.

  5. Member

    Just a few days ago, on this technology blog there was an article about motorbikes, is there any connection with the usual stuff we get here besides da fact dat e author is e owner of the blog? Presumably no one said anything. Me thinks, James as a major stakeholder of a private company can beat his own drums. From a rationale point of view I do not see anything wrong with that.Why more people should use scooters anyway:

    Imba ndeyake, kupenda red, blue, cream…zvirikumuridzi wejira kufuka kana kuwaridza

    1. L.S.M. Kabweza

      if you think the article was about motorbikes, you probably missed the point.

  6. Chihelele

    Its not only Telecel doing that. Makamba invested millions of his hard earned money, he is free to do what he want with his sweat.

    Techzim you have to drop this blatant crusade against anything competing with econet.

    This is not tech news at all

    1. Time

      “Makamba invested millions of his HARD EARNED money”


    2. L.S.M. Kabweza

      You obviously know more than we all do on this one. Maybe share more?

      1. Angus M

        So you don’t even know the history of Telecel , Mr. TechZim ? Do you know it started with then best friends and business partners James Makamba and Strive Masiyiwa. If you did you wouldn’t publish silly articles like this or respond with sarcastic comments regarding Mr Makamba’s role in establishing and investing in Telecel. I bet you wouldn’t comment sarcastically if Chihelele had mentioned Strive’s hard earned money, you’re entitled to publish what you want but be responsible and respectful. Why don’t you reach out and ask Telecel or Mr Makamba to explain this if you’re so interested and do a very transparent piece on his contribution to the tech sector in Zim

        1. L.S.M. Kabweza

          What you’re overlooking is this:

          Done by any other company (and even Telecel itself at a different time), we’d probably just gloss over it and move on.

  7. purple

    James Makamba and Telecel are two distinct individuals. James Makamba is just one of the shareholders of Telecel. Telecel should focus on its core business of providing us telecomunication services not of sprucing up James Makamba’s image. Its ok to put out an advert giving praise for an achievement by James but the way they are singing his praises i think it crosses the boundaries of corporate ethics. I am now failing to see where their corprate objectives lie.

  8. Greg Kawere

    This was certainly a newsworthy article from TZ, to put the article in perspective you need to look at the attempts by Makamba to come back to Zimbabwe, the shareholder saga & the firing of the former CEO.

    The shareholding of Telecel has political permutations that involve Leo Mugabe & the specification of Makamba for unprintable reasons which led to the powers that be to try and take away or shut down his company as happened to most of his empire (Joy TV e.t.c).

    There is also the dimension of an Egyptian company owning over 51% shareholding, hello indeginisation & the license renewal curve ball. We also have to consider the fact that a former CEO was hounded out of his position because he was a foreigner.

    It might be that Makamba is doing some PR to be the next CEO of Telecel. You have to consider that Telecel is a possible challenger to Econets dominance in the mobile network sector. In terms of corporate intrigue Telecel has given us a fare share of drama and it seems that more is to unravel as Leo Mugabe & Makamba square up to up their shareholding in Telecel.

    Telecel is also going through a process of trying to increase their market share through various market shaking promotions and offers which started under the previous CEO who was fired. We wonder if the momentum for innovation will continue, there is also the reintroduction of skwala (mobile money). Remember skwala was the first mobile money product in Zimbabwe preceding ecocash.

    We really need a competitor to ecocash, now will all these positive developments at Telecel continue under a new CEO who could possibly be Makamba himself.

    The Chairman is supposed to be a non-excutive director who is indepedent of the company so says the King 2 code of corporate governance. Now Makamba is the founding shareholder of Telecel a major shareholder.

    So if thats not newsworthy then what is.

    To TZ, i say keep it up

  9. Angela Centra

    its a tough job to write a blog lately, being a complete outsider and frequent reader of this blog, i can say i get the most balanced news about the good, bad and ugly on the tech scene of Zim. This article is quite relevant because of the context of the market… Context is everything…. keep them coming LSM

  10. Byers Design

    you all hide behind fake names and put down this article and its writer.. what do you do sirs? why not sign in via Facebook and post your comments?

    personally I do not find this article to be gossip or written by Econet; I do however find ‘Telecel’s’ behavior a bit odd.

  11. M3YA

    Keep it up LSM. I have seen equal bashing of Econet on this blog, not that ‘wondering’ about the intentions of Telecel at pushing Makamba into their limelight is any bashing of Telecel. Bottom line is this Makamba business on their ads is just too weird. period.

  12. Concern Shoko

    If you follow and understand politics (especially in Zim), you can surely read between the lines. Great article TZ. There is a “story behind the story” at Telecel.

  13. MI5

    Lumbikani is outraged over criticism of his ” Why More People Should Use Scooters in Harare”. Can’t you see that Lumbikani whole point was that there are some things we don’t know, that are very useful! If you don’t like the news, go make your own!

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