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Zimbabwe’s ICT Achievers Awards – what an insult! Updated with a retraction

Following our commentary below on the 2013 ICT Achievers Awards, I have received a letter from one Simon Sadomba of law fim – Gill Godlonton & Gerrans representing Sadomba Mahari Computers. They have asked us to retract our comment. We agree and here is the full unconditional retraction;

1. Sadomba Mahari DESERVED to win the Best ICT Web Developer Company / Individual 2013 Award.

2. Sadomba Mahari does NOT only come in the lime-light during the ICT Achievers Awards

3. The ICT Ministry’s naming of Sadomba Mahari as the winners in the category is NOT doing Zimbabwe’s ICT Sector a disservice.

Dereck Goto

The following article is a guest post by Dereck Goto, Founder and Lead Web Developer at Web Entangled.

ict-achievers-2013The habit of being silent when short-changed has destroyed our moral fabric as Zimbabweans.

I will not be silent when I have seen the suspicious awarding of accolades at the ICT Achievers Awards – 2013 edition. While I witnessed several companies in different categories complaining about the outcome in their sectors, in this article I will focus on the category that I was nominated in. The category was – Best ICT Web Developer Company / Individual 2013.

The award was unbelievably accorded to a company called Sadomba-Mahari (visit

Anyone familiar with the Zimbabwean web space will tell you that the leading development companies in Zimbabwe (in no particular order) are Webdev (, Web Entangled (my company –, C2 Media (, Big Law (, Design at 7 (, Quatrohaus ( and Cyberplex Africa ( These are leading companies by virtue of the size and quality of their client portfolios. Almost every leading company in Zimbabwe has had their website designed by one of these companies.

These are companies that have developed projects for listed companies, leading telecoms companies, UN organisations, financial services sector companies etc. They have developed functional mass market mobile and e-commerce applications being used profitably locally. Clearly it is insulting for these companies to then be put up against a company such as Sadomba-Mahari whose own website does not meet basic W3C standards. By merely looking at Sadomba-Mahari’s quality of work and portfolio they should not have even made it to the top 20 of the country’s leading web development companies. I doubt Sadomba-Mahari has developed even a single website for any listed company or internationally recognisable organisation.

Sadomba-Mahari is never featured in any major web-projects in the country. They only come into the lime-light at these ICT Achiever Awards.

I would like to challenge the event organisers to reveal the criterion they used in coming up with the category winner for the public to see and learn.

For fear of being accused of being a sore loser, I will provide visual evidence and links to projects developed by Sadomba-Mahari, the best ICT Web Developer for 2013 (and 2012!). I will also provide visuals and links to websites developed by ourselves as well as other companies listed here. I will leave it to the reader to make their own conclusion as to the authenticity and sincerity of the awards.

Here is Sadomba-Mahari’s homepage website website

Web Entangled’s homepage



Big Law

I challenge you to visit each of the companies I have listed here and have a look at the quality of their work both visually and in functionality.

When the ICT Ministry labels a company like Sadomba-Mahari as Zimbabwe’s best web development company – what message are they sending out to possible international partners for us local web development companies. How do you think they will view the entire industry?

At the end of it all, I feel used. Whoever was responsible for selecting the runners-up intentionally chose strong brands in the category to give credibility to the process, then they put-up their anointed ones as the winners. Some of these companies have built their brands for over 10 years and for them to be short-changed for some reason by implying that their companies are worse performers than a 3 year old business that can not properly create its own website is unjust and unreasonable to say the least.

If I do not get a satisfactory response from the event organisers, I will join others that have quit being considered for these awards citing the same problems.

Quick NetOne, Econet, And Telecel Airtime Recharge

92 thoughts on “Zimbabwe’s ICT Achievers Awards – what an insult! Updated with a retraction

  1. Fully agree with this. However there needs to be a distinction between development and design. ICT in Zimbabwe needs to catch up to the industry which is setting the pace – not the other way around. Surely the panel of judges needs to have web developers/designers/programmes etc in the team – actual industry experts? What is the criteria that needs to be met?

  2. OK 🙂 I understand his gripe. He lost an award. I can tell you right now i know more than 85 Zimbabweans in Ireland, Sweeden, Australia, New Zealand, Israel, UAE, USA, UK, SA, Angola, Germany and so many other 1st world countries that are doing so well better than what we hear and see as winners. Hard luck Dereck try next time. Zim contests always have controversies surrounding 🙂

    1. Shepherd. The discussion at hand is about development companies operating in Zimbabwe. We have leading design companies operating in Zimbabwe with roots in SA, UK and Oz. As long as they operate in Zimbabwe they should be fairly considered for the award. If you are not working in Zimbabwe you can not be considered for the award for obvious reasons.

  3. the other issue is IT equipment brands are not being recognized, We have huge companies that brand focused business and the companies distributing and supporting those brands should be recognized.

  4. Derek uses purchased templates. But the one distinguishing aspect about him is that he actually customises them and they look unique and branded. Respect for that.

    One thing that I don’t advise him though is pursuing his path of flash.

  5. This is a symptom of a much bigger problem. Its not too far fetched that if the gvt were to implement some form of e-governance systems, the likes of ‘Sadomba-Mahari’ would get a piece of the pie.

    It also goes to show that its not the quality of work that was considered, but some other criteria. We all know what the criteria is, but we cannot prove it and there is nothing we can do about it.

    1. what criteria is it? Why beat about the bush? Just be out with it mate, we don’t know so don’t say “we all know”. If you are not going to say it, then hold your peace and accept what happened.

      1. You want me to accept that this is the best of the best that all of Zimbabwe can produce?

        I have no input into who wins but asking me to believe/think that #SadombaMahari is best in this country is like asking me to believe that Zimbabwe is spelt ewbabmiZ.

        1. What i am referring to is this… “It also goes to show that its not the quality of work that was considered, but some other criteria. We all know what the criteria is, but we cannot prove it and there is nothing we can do about it.”

          Care to explain what that means? Clearly you seem to know the criteria other than quality that was used. So just tell what the criteria is.

  6. arent these awards based on nominations? so say if no one nominated the companies you mentioned, and only one nominee Sadomba-Mahari existed then they would win it by default?

    1. If there is only one nomination, or if there are 1000 bad nominations (that do not meet the standard), then there should be no award.

      Surely, saying Sadomba-Mahari are the best in Zimbabwe is an insult to all of us!

  7. ICT Achievers awards awarded csi for best web developer when they did not even have a website on their portfolio

    1. Let me clarify your misconceptions. CSI won the award in 2011 for Web Developer company of the year. At that time CSI had least 12 clients that it done more than just websites but web portals that are integrated to back-end systems of these entities. For your own information SharePoint development is considered to be part of web development. CSI had done numerous SharePoint deployments at the time of getting the award.
      CSI has also won international awards from Microsoft and the European Society of Quality Research for similar work. All these organisations can’t be biased and just favour CSI. For your own satisfaction you can ask ZIMRA, Securities and Exchange Comission of Zimbabwe, Parliament of Zimbabwe etc.

    2. You sound like you were not even there. I shall copy and paste for you: CSI won the ICT Project of the Year(Public Sector). This is the biggest payment gateway for ZIMRA Payments; integrated to all banks and all border-posts. Hope you will understand Your Worship the Mayor.

    3. Let me clarify your misconceptions. CSI won the award in 2011 for Web Developer company of the year. At that time CSI had least 12 clients that it done more than just websites but web portals that are integrated to back-end systems of these entities. For your own information SharePoint development is considered to be part of web development. CSI had done numerous SharePoint deployments at the time of getting the award.
      CSI has also won international awards from Microsoft and the European Society of Quality Research for similar work. All these organisations can’t be biased and just favour CSI. For your own satisfaction you can ask ZIMRA, Securities and Exchange Commission of Zimbabwe, Parliament of Zimbabwe etc. I have worked with CSI for the past 5 years. There have clients in South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Egypt, Morocco, USA, UK, India and UAE. I guess you knew that as well ?

        1. Yes, CSI is working on the new Parliament Website/portal. CSI is working with WebDev on this project. You can confirm this with clerk of Parliament and call WebDev and ask for Garth.

    4. They are a shame. Remember they awarded ZTA (tourism) best website in 2011 when it was down for over a year yet they went on to award. Its a shame to Eng Kundishora, Mr Chigwamba and team

  8. Someone once said that a lot of Nobel award winners have disappeared into insignificance after receiving their award. I say keep grinding boys, currently if your invoices are getting paid on time and you are expanding your client base month after month, that is a very high level of recognition of your good efforts. It’s a whole lot better than clamouring for an award and then within a month of receiving it, filing for liquidation.

    1. Amen to that. The liquid crisis is so bad that ICT is not considered to be the driver of businesses anymore. When they is a liquid crisis the CFO’s always start but cutting the ICT budget. What’s the point of getting an award for a project that you don’t realise much monetary value ?

  9. Nonsense, you actually didn’t even ‘design’ your very own website, it’s Fidelity template for Joomla. So what do you do? Buying and selling templates isn’t “web development”. Amateurs. And change your favicon from the Joomla default one, please. You think we’re not stupid.

    And my previous comment was removed, as admin ishamwari yako? Musatinyaudze mahara, develop an actual website and show us.

    1. Dude, chill. we don’t remove comments… if you mix languages, use expletives, or *shout*, disqus will automatically classify your comment spam. You of all people should know that.

      1. Neither does the Web Entangled of it. Honestly. We have all used templates. It’s a short cut, it keeps prices down, it allows for rapid deployment. But that appears to be all they have, and their very own site is just a template, and they haven’t bothered to remove the default Joomla favicon.

        I repeat – if you can’t even get your favicon right, how can you call yourselves a “development company”. Aiwa.

        1. Joe…what did you use for your own website? A pirated wordpress parallax template? For your blog, a $99 template?

          Other than changing the folder names of the templates you do such a shoddy job of modifying the templates. No wonder you dont understand what web development is about.

          The next time you decide to post something that contradicts what you do try using a pseudonym. We have Google at our disposal and we can use it.

          It then begs the question if you also use templates, what then is the motivation of your post? Just thinking…

          1. As I said in previous comments, there’s nothing wrong with using templates. But these guys can’t even remove the Joomla favicon. That’s shoddy. I was very clear about that. Didn’t you read the whole thread?

            1. I think your arguments are misplaced and misguided. Regardless of all your concerns the author was querying the selection criteria. He even put up several other companies to compare against the eventual winners.
              Even if a school is full of dull students there has to be a number one among them. He is asking ~ was the number one that was chosen the right one amongst the amateurs as you put it?
              Your failure to comprehend such a clear article tell me you are blinded by something. Perhaps it is rage that he didnt mention you among the top companies?

              1. Bwahahaha that’s ludicrous. I’m actually a web designer, not a developer. I only do a very few, select websites. That’s why I don’t advertise, or nominate myself for awards, or complain about it when I lose (LOL). In fact, I don’t even do sites anymore, cos it’s becoming a fool’s game. Graphics are where the money’s at 🙂

                That’s beside the point, though. My problem was with the trumpet-blowing. It’s okay to question criteria, but I think he went too far with the self-promotion LOL. Maybe that was the point, I don’t know.

                Anyway. Can’t care much anymore. Laters

    2. You seem to be talking from a position of moral-high ground. Show us your expert websites vs the amateur websites you’ve seen.

      Do you understand how software and design houses work? Have you ever mass produced websites? Do understand productivity and effectiveness?

      You sound like the epic fool that would develop an image gallery for their client from scratch yet there are hundreds of options available for free online. After developing one you would go around bragging that you have just developed an image gallery thinking you must be the only one able to do so!

      Far from it. These template guys need expect skills to be able to customize and effectively deploy solutions. They clearly understand a lot that eludes you. They understand time management & productivity, they understand effectiveness, they understand the cost implications for their clients and above all the understand profit.

      I hope you take this as some necessary education Mr Black.

      1. So it’s not a Web Development Company, it’s a Template Customisation Company. I’m okay with using templates, just don’t pretend it’s development.

        1. I’m smelling sour grapes here. I am a developer myself and I am wondering how someone customises even the most suited of templates without touching the code?

          1. You can “sense” whatever you want, that’s irrelevant. There’s nothing wrong with templates. Web Entangled is just not very good at it. As evidenced by their own home page.

    3. Last comment – it’s happened. It’s done. There are clowns in charge of ICT, and the sector will never grow with these clowns doing clownish Awards like this.

      Be that as it may, these people tooting their own horn and complaining about not winning must just stop, please. They’re not as good as they think they are.

  10. of course its sour grapes!u proudly self nominated yourself and got the shock of your life that you did not win. You’re full of it to think by quantity you are measured as one of the best. Youre good but certainly not amongst the best. Your company is famous for templates though I doubt the judges even know what that is. Youre a short cut guy. I have worked with you. Suffice to say,I do agree that Sadomba does not cut it.

    Who else was nominated?

    1. 🙂 ROFL hahahahahahahahahahahaha.

      Facts are fuckin stubborn. We await to hear from him who uses templates lol

  11. If the guys that gave these awards are the very same guys making and implementing IT policy in this country, then we have a problem; a big problem!
    This is not acceptable. This is embarrassing. This is a disgrace.

  12. I have compared the websites and seen some of the web developers portifolios in question. Awarding the top prize to Sadomba-Mahari was a gigantic fraud period. I challenge contributors here to do the same and judge for themselves.

  13. Say, Techzim should have an aggregated people’s choice awards to coincide with the ICT awards. how about that?

  14. I don’t know why Zimbabweans are never happy. We cannot support each other and all we do is hate on each other and try to find fault.
    Instead of looking at the positive aspects we chose to belittle each other and all we do is step on each other to try and succeed.
    I have no idea what criteria they used, but to then start saying really bad staff and giving Sadomba a bad name, what does that say about you.
    lets try to support each other if you have issues take them up with the proper authorities and not try to mess up other peoples businesses that are trying to survive.
    I get you are unhappy but there is a point where its taking it too far.

    1. You may go ahead and accept poor quality. You can bury your head in the sand and cheer on very bad and ignorant choices. But that’s you. Let it be at your expense.

      For the bulk of us who looked AT THE WORK and havnt had a dose of personal attacks,we will call a spade a spade Sadomba Mahari-developed websites DO NOT DESERVE THAT AWARD!

    2. I quote: “and not try to mess up other peoples businesses that are trying to survive”

      WTF!?! That’s no business. What these guys are doing is nowhere close to a business. More like a circus!!! Sadomba Mahari IS A JOKE!!!!

  15. those with issues can you take them with the normal channels, i dont think sadomba-mahari nominated and gave the award to itself, the ministry made a decision, the criteria they used we dont know it. so guys lets stop being personal here.

    1. Hi Joel,

      This is not a personal attack by the tech community against you. The anger is not directed towards you or your organisation.

      The issue here is that while everyone appreciates your work and effort put into it, your work is not the best produced in Zimbabwe.

      This is the opinion of those commenting here (which obviously differs from that of the judges).

  16. Yes you want an award yet you and the bulk of your other “leading development companies” are using pre-purchased themes as your own. Shout out to for their original website and another Zimbabwean agency not mentioned here but with a more striking + original website by far:

      1. Dear admin, it’s not advertising if it’s facts. Point me to the door if my assessment is inaccurate

        1. Your site is also a template. just saying! and the guy doesn’t want the award he his just asking how is it possible for the judge to select a mediocre company

          1. Lol! Dude you’re delusional!! Looooooooool! I’m insulted, you’ll never, EVER, find a website like wetu, unless it’s an imitation, I’m an artist, that is my art, I wouldn’t be one if I used templates and claimed them as my own creation. Unless of course if your intention is to troll then please my good man, go ahead. But how can mediocrity judge mediocrity?

      2. I could have sworn I replied you already. Anyway, it’s not advertising if it’s facts, point me to the door if you think I am wrong, until then let us not waste each other’s time

  17. didnt want to judge b4 i checked the golden rule is not fancy graphics and animations but the user experience and boy its a pain trying to navigate the site

  18. I have read everyone’s comments and I don’t seem to find anyone who examined the criteria that we as the Ministry of ICT required for nomination. We advertised in all newspaper on the how the process will work. The process was as follows:

    1. You submitted your company or project to be nominated on the site under the 2013 Categories section.

    2. You filled in a questionnaire depending on the category that you were thought you qualified for.

    3. We required recommendations from the companies/project that you submitted to be done from the same website.

    The assessment was based on the impact of the project, other multiple factors listed on this site and the number of recommendations that each prospective nomination received. Did everyone who is moaning and complaining follow this process ? The results were audited by an independent reputable audit firm which is part of the big five. There was no Nikuv involved in this process. For those who keep making all these unsubstantiated claims about the process being flawed. Did you follow the process to be nominated for an award ? If you didn’t follow the process then why are you complaining ? Some of you just need a forum to express your hatred for those who are making a difference in our ICT industry.

    1. Firstly, I doubt you represent the ministry. Secondly, if you do, then this is probably the worst criteria ever for awarding prizes. Recommendations from your clients? What a joke. You might as well keep your awards. Some people do jobs for cheap and will get good recommendations, some are just able to garner letters from friends, family and clientele. And you are going to count on that? What a shame.

      Web development is not a popularity contest. It requires expertise and should be judged on execution, by a professional panel. Imagine if the Oscars were given out on recommendation by movie goers.

      Your criteria alone takes away the prestige, aura and ingenuity of your awards.

  19. Are you an idiot, to post the same comment twice? Using themes for my own site isn’t the same as SELLING THEM and pretending to be a developer. Is that using them for my business? Do you even know my business? If you don’t know what you’re talking about, say nothing. Idiot.

  20. Also, I’m not a web developer. I’m a web designer (do you even know the difference), and I don’t need to be mentioned in a top anything by anyone. LOL. People who act like they know you … idiot.

  21. So, to dispel your ignorance once and for all – there’s a huge difference between using a template or theme for a personal site, and downloading/buying and selling them to unwitting clients, and pretend to have done “development”. Do you understand that difference? Anyway, whatever.

      1. I think Joe Black has a point there, most pple who use templates rarely education their clients on what it is they would have done for them – I meaning they act like they developed the whole app

  22. I seriously believe most of these comments are coming from a few individuals with fake e-mail addresses LOL

  23. Ndanyara stereki. im sure vana kuma uni paUZ and Nust are doing better than the official best…

  24. As much as I agree that Sadomba-Mahari might not have been the best (put against the C2s of Zim), I am embarassed for Web Entangled, because, their own site is Joomla! template. Customization of not development, so their moral compass here is a bit misplaced. And yes, the Ministry of ICT needs a more serious pariliament of adjudicators – the awards are a joke, to say the least.

  25. Why reinvent the wheel. Use those templates and please buy and support the developers. Thats the whole point of having those templates online for sale. Some are designers, some developers, either way its all part of the Web development process, whichever niche you occupy as a company or individual.

    Bottom line: Sadomba-Mahari did not deserve the award for obvious reasons. But hey its a competitive world out there and people have different means to the end. Congrats to all winners 🙂

  26. SADOMBA MAHARI developed the android and symbian apps for the ICT Achievers Awards, they manage the ICT Achievers Awards facebook page (not sure about website) and one of the Maharis who is a preseneter at Starfm recently hosted Kundishora at the Star Tech program on StarFM. This is just a disclaimer ohhh. ZVAKUMAKER SENSE NOW…. (ZIMAGIC being part of the SM Conglomerate)

    1. 🙂 rofl… Don’t worry about who they are and what they did. They must know that competitors are really mad at them and they need to up their game and show that the awards are for excellency and not mediocrity.

      zimbo’s will never say takundwa, we come up with all sorts of excuses all the time.

      1. its a shame to hear or see a professional person being a cry baby,if u know u r the best n u believe in yo self n what u can do why do u cry , what u know n can do best has not been taken from u go on move with yo business,

        the criteria or what is non of yo business, if u c some u know u can beat winning , then its means u r more than that,, but this award was given to that person to encourage, or motivate that person to more n further develop from there.

        1. I disagree @b56d2b8fc956c79cccc7d82247171046:disqus. These awards reward recognition to the best and are therefore not meant as an encouragement for recipient “to do more n further develop from there.”

          They actually should serve as a benchmark for excellence in the industry. This is why Web Entangled, being a player inn the space, feels insulted by what, as a country, we recognise as best.

  27. Why am I getting the impression that the bulk of devs on this comments thread are stupid? Don’t be pained by your disabilities, if you can’t develop you can’t, don’t be bitter because the world expects that of you and won’t settle for less. Log out and go read an ebook, enrich yourself.

    @71f2ae3452547e2c4fcc684c5c6b4280:disqus never knocked templates, he stated how it was bad practice to sell them off as original designs/framework to clients who don’t know better. I agree with him 100%, such a mentality is what is hindering you devs from progressing. We’ll never have a Zillicon Valley if it will be built on the backs of ThemeForest et al. Let us have our own things.

  28. is it just me or does the retraction smell of being forced to or risk being sued for Libel/Slander? as much as i didnt like his approach to the matter, he did have very valid questions that really should be answered.

    at the end of the day though, its not Sadomba Mahari Computers’ fault that they met the “unknown” criteria for the award. do i think they deserve it though? That’s debatable given the level of quality out there that on the surface does far exceed them.

  29. Sounds like the retraction is all just hot air. lets experiment:
    Me gets up on a podium, clears me throat and says ” SADOMBA-MAHARI DID NOT DERSERVE TO WIN BEST ICT WEB DEVELOPER COMPANY/INDIVIDUAL 2013″

    Now watch this space for my retraction.

    1. But having gone through the article again and visited examples offered again..I am of the view dereck was right

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