Villagers Dig Up TelOne Fibre Cables Out Of Curiosity

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Telone Fibre billboard

When you hear that cabling has been dug, you usually suspect that there has been a case of theft. For TelOne ,however, some of their fibre optic cables along the Harare-Beitbridge Highway were dug up by villagers. It turns out the cables were not stolen but actually dug up by curious villagers.

TelOne’s Head of Infrastructure Development, Lawrence Nkala, pleaded with villagers in Jaka and Rutenga not to tamper with the cables as that would have grave costs:

As you may be aware, these developments are a way of enhancing our communications after government in 2016 accessed a $98m loan facility from the China Exim Bank.

If it runs through your field, it will not affect anything because it’s buried a metre deep underground. We are pleading with you to support us because it is our vision that internet reaches your home efficiently and effectively, because you may dig up this cable, but it will not benefit you as an individual because you can’t sell it anywhere, but you would have disrupted communication for your own country and having it back comes at a huge cost.

Not the first time

We are almost halfway through 2018, and according to Newsday this is the third incident of this kind in the Rutenga and Jaka area. TelOne says these incidents have cost them between $10 000-$100 000.

Probably the problem stems from the fact that villagers are alarmed when they see land that they think belongs to them is dug up and they are not sure. It is however an inconvenience to TelOne and in the long run the people themselves in these communities will be affected by this.

Are awareness campaigns the answer?

I guess all the companies laying fibre optic cables should do a bit more in terms of educating these communities on the benefits of the cables. I’m not sure if this will be a viable solution since some of these communities do not even have basic internet so it might not be apparent to them how important the infrastructure is.

The fact that this incident occurs a few weeks after TelOne broadband cables worth $10 000 were stolen is a bit ironic. It seems TelOne and their cables are not having the best month, this May.


  1. Tinashe Jinjika

    Something to NOTE.It is said Zimbabweans are the best educated amongst most african states you tend to wonder.

    1. Wakanda Forever

      Highest literacy rate…not the best educated. There is a big difference

    2. Imi Vanhu Musadaro

      There’s nothing to wonder about. Education doesn’t make you understand the unknown. They hadn’t seen a fibre optic cable, let alone know that they were being installed. Education has different levels, I doubt those responsible have diplomas and degrees in IT. You miraculously they should understand what was being entrenched based on prior schooling.

      Aside from that, how deep were these cables being installed? It could also be curious kids, trying to find out what was being buried underground.

      Anyway, no-one knows everything, even in the most educated countries in the world. Don’t be self loathing, try to belittle those that aren’t as learned as you.

    3. Wiri

      If they are not educated about the fiber cable how do you expect them to know

  2. madzidaddy

    But then again, the article says they were digging thru people’s fields, shouldn’t they have communicated with the field owners first in order to avoid such disagreements?

    1. Imi Vanhu Musadaro

      Very true, if someone comes to your house and digs by your gate and leaves without telling you what is going on, what will you reaction most likely to be? To dig and find out what was being done.

      On another note, why are the estimates of their losses so vague, $10,000 – $100,000. Everytime I hear figures like that, they sound pulled from thin air. I don’t think it hard to quantify such losses if they are doing their jobs properly.

      1. Garikai Dzoma

        True education would have prevented this but here is a fun fact. Few people occupy the land they live on. Communal Land is actually owned by the government who can repossess it for whatever reason. Despite the claims that the government took white people’s land and gave it to black people the government of Zimbabwe did no such thing. They kept it and are merely leasing it. That’s why communal farmers and resettled farmers cannot get loans from banks. They have so few rights.

        1. oh shame

          Shame, keep voting for those who end up giving you so few rights!! you deserve the leaders you get!

        2. Imi Vanhu Musadaro

          I don’t get the relevance of who owns what piece of land. Even if I am renting, you cannot just come to the property and start digging trenches without talking to the tenant. The tenant also holds the right to dig on the property they occupy, so the tenant is not at fault when they do so. They just happened to dig where you clandestinely laid your fibre optic cable.

  3. Sagitarr

    The ZPF MPs for these rural folk surely must be responsible for taking a lead in the education of their loyal supporters so that this does not happen again….or those chiefs who recently received twin cabs, what are they using the cars for?…and what work do they really do every single day?

  4. Allaz

    Somebody thought they could sell it and then spread that info around. Surely if the villagers were curious they would have investigated when the trenches were still being dug initially and the cables being laid. But to expend all that labour just to take a peek – NOPE. Panga pachitsvagwa mari apa but then they found hakuna market. Curiosity had nothing to do with it.

  5. W.T

    I think this article is misleading.I was part of this Telone fibre optic installation everyone in the area where fibre passed through was told of the development.Infact it is a must requirement.In fact property owners are told of the development first when Route Marking is done and again at the implementation stage.For the record I dnt work for telone but for the contractor responsible for installation.

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