There is some belief in some places that Techzim doesn’t like Strive Masiyiwa. Nothing could be further from the truth. Masiyiwa and his business has largely contributed to the existence of the current internet ecosystem in Zimbabwe. Without him I don’t know if the ecosystem would be the way it is, most probably not. His long hard fight with the Zimbabwean government to get a mobile network operator license ensured that there is a private player in this important space and that is a super good thing.
The story that is not told is how Techzim itself came into being. It came after a local weekly newspaper had dismissed Econet’s plans and announcement to roll out 3G. The article said Econet was launching an elitist technology that Zimbabweans could not afford. Of course such a view had to be challenged and Techzim was born. Could we say without Econet (Strive), Techzim would not exist? Maybe.
Strive Masiyiwa is therefore a good story for Zimbabwe. I still stick to my earlier position that he should not be an untouchable. That is a very immature attitude to have towards leadership. To digress a little: I am already seeing the amount of hero worship going on towards Emmerson Mnangagwa and Constantino Chiwenga and it worries. Let us not burden mere men and women with our projected images of them as gods, no one can ever live up to that expectation. Let me get back to this article:
The Government Should Make the First Move
The Zimbabwean government should state clearly and sincerely that Masiyiwa is welcome back to the land of his birth. Not just him but every Zimbabwean who so wishes to come back. I am not asking for them to promise recognition or to offer them political roles. In fact people like Strive will always remain much more effective outside the realm of politics. Business has potential to have more influence on social development than politics can: Mark Zuckerberg is more powerful and influential than any president on the planet or even all of them put together.
It May Not Make Sense For Strive to Come Back
It may not be strategic for Strive Masiyiwa to move back to Zimbabwe. Why? He is leading a global business now with much more vast and diverse operations outside Zimbabwe hence there is no obvious reason to be in this country. Zimbabwe itself is a very small market and the best tool in Econet Global’s tool kit (assuming that’s Strive’s leadership) could be better utilised elsewhere. Again Econet Wireless Zimbabwe does not face as much competition as does other Econet operations in other economies so they can do just fine without Masiyiwa’s feet on the ground.
That Doesn’t Mean He Won’t Come Back
If he were to come back home it would really be for sentimental reasons. Given the scale of philanthropic activity by Strive and Tsitsi Masiyiwa in Zimbabwe it is clear the attachment they have towards their homeland. If the Masiyiwa’s were to come to live in Zimbabwe it would be to re-establish connection with the country otherwise they probably run their business better from outside.
Maybe Just A Visit
Maybe Strive just visiting will be good enough. My only worry is that if he does visit there will be a hero’s welcome for him and I insist that such welcome is not good for any person (both the welcomed and the welcomed). Besides that, it is good for Zimbabwe if more Zimbabweans with a global perspective come into the country and share that perspective with all of us.
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