The name Nicholas Mathonsi isn’t a household name, but in some weird way it should be, for millions of people. He’s the guy who passed a High Court order granting Telecel Zimbabwe the right to continue operations until it puts its house in order.
If it wasn’t for Justice Mathonsi, today, Telecel Zimbabwe would be 12 days away from winding down operations. Following a notice of cancellation served to the mobile operator by the industry regulator POTRAZ, Telecel appealed to the High Court and was granted the interdict that put brakes on the action taken by POTRAZ.
It’s been reported by the Herald that yesterday the Honourable Justice chided POTRAZ for acting in an overzealous manner that didn’t take into consideration the stakeholders that would be affected by the move on Telecel. It turns out, Telecel wasn’t given enough room to appeal to the Minister of ICT, Supa Mandiwanzira, regarding this cancellation and the operator would have had to shut down before exhausting its appeal processes.
In short; the Judge just explained why he gave Telecel a new lease of life, and in the process he called the Government the bad guy in this whole story.
It’s what most of us have thought about this whole affair actually. It’s just that judicial mention usually holds weight that public opinion can’t afford.
The important thing to think about though is, what happens next? Well, Telecel has to go back to the Minister of ICT (the man representing the aforementioned bad guys) and state a case that will ensure it gets the right to operate normally.
This means clarifying its ownership issue, especially around its share structure which hasn’t been careful of indigenisation, and mentioning how the balance on its licence will be paid.
All of this won’t be a cakewalk, what with the hassles of securing a serious investor willing to settle for less than half the pie, and sweet talking POTRAZ into accepting a new payment schedule for its licence in the process. For all that, Telecel will need more than just Nicholas Mathonsi on its side.