Was Vaya Africa Really Stolen From Hwindi By Econet?

So there has been a narrative that comes up time and time again; Econet is a brutal company and they steal ideas from budding entrepreneurs and startups! Cumii (an Econet subsidiary) recently launched their Vaya Africa ride-hailing app and Hwindi has surfaced kinda suggesting that they were copied. So what’s the issue here?

A bit of background…

A few weeks ago we managed to get access to Cumii’s Vaya Africa application and we wrote a preview of the application. After publishing this preview an interesting thing happened, Hwindi came out and voiced their issues with the appearance of the Vaya Africa website. Hwindi reached out to me directly and explained this and after taking a look I was also taken aback and I was quite surprised. The websites did indeed have some similarities and we were wondering what the issue was.


We then got in touch with Cumii who explained that they had gotten this uber-like platform from the same Indian company who Hwindi also got their platform from. The platform is basically a white label – a product made by one company that other companies can rebrand to make it appear as if they had made it themselves. So both Cumii and Hwindi got this platform from one provider and when I asked Hwindi if this was the case they agreed. Hwindi still felt hard done by the fact that Cumii didn’t make changes compared to their first product which was the first to hit the market.

I think therein lies the problem with this whole situation. Vaya Africa hadn’t been launched and Cumii were still performing internal testing with the application. If it wasn’t for the fact that Techzim stumbled upon this app and wrote about it there wouldn’t have been an issue at all as there would have been no public interaction with the app until Wednesday night and what launched on Wednesday night doesn’t really look like what Hwindi launched.

Get people talking

I think this is also why Hwindi has been very careful in all their communications thus far not to outrightly say that Cumii stole their intellectual property. Hwindi’s communication was very suggestive and played into an existing narrative that Econet steals ideas from the small guy and I’m sure they knew they would get some traction from it. If you didn’t know about Hwindi, now you do and that’s good for their brand especially if that also comes with the added sympathy of being the guy who was robbed. I’m not so sure if that really is the case and it seems Hwindi won’t commit on saying whether or not their intellectual property was copied.

Those are the facts. I’m not entirely sure if there is an issue here but if your opinion differs from mine the comments section are always open and it will be great for us to continue this discussion there.



  1. Tindo

    This taxi idea is neither Hwindi’s nor Econet’s. Its an original Uber idea so Hwindi can’t claim econet stole their idea because it is not theirs to begin with. Its just competition so they should face it

  2. Van Lee Chigwada

    What’s sad here is that we can’t build our own products but outsource simple work to Indian companies.

    1. Ash

      I have to agree with you on this one, we need to see more software companies, developing these solutions locally and exporting.
      Its one FX avenue that i feel, as Zimbabweans we overlook. Techzim it would be nice for you to review home grown solutions being used outside our borders.

      1. TheKing

        We have to be competitive especially on the pricing model. Outsourcing to India is cheap especially when you are paying in USD as the Indian Rupee is a weak currency.

    2. Anonymous

      yes exactly what came to my mind, like seriously??

  3. TheKing

    When Hwindi guys first mentioned this issue, I responded saying both companies had used the same template. Unfortunately both used it out of the box and here we are. Hwindi knows it will never be able to stand against Econet, so they are on a smear campaign.

    1. Van Lee Chigwada

      Econet fumbles a lot and fall short often.
      Case in point, Ruzivo (Their user base is so small, its shameful), Ownai,,, I could go on.
      I don’t know maybe its because they are a big machine, but if you come with a nice strategy, you can beat them. I know competitor products that are killing them on market-share from Indie Devs.

      1. Farai Mudzingwa

        I agree… I think the quality of your offering will speak for itself usually. What I do fear, however, is that in a market such as the one they’ve just entered their ability to throw resources at a problem can give them an advantage. A good example is the free promo codes which are allowing many users to experience Vaya for free. I don’t think competitors can do that and they will definitely be at a disadvantage

  4. Anonymous

    I still cant imagine that Econet couldn’t build their own application group up. Rather prefer copy and paste white labels.
    Oh well,

  5. Anonymous

    I have learnt a lot about white labelling apps. Already i once engaged econet with my service before they even got this software long before everyone knew this is what they were up to. The idea was taken by one their employees actually sadly so when they saw me do it initially. Funny how they seemed unsettled to view our technology under signed agreements when we met trying to outsource the software for their use. But they prefer going with India lol. And you guessed it right they actually didnt call us after that. It was an all oh we are doing market research blah blah. And i knew they were not willing to feed into a local startup. Ours is a home developed and custom made and we own everything in it. We are not in ride hailing business but frwight and logistics. Anyway Do i have anything against white labels? We decided to build it locally and use local talents for it. And it was 1 developer at the start. Problem with white labels is sometimes that you may not be able to fully customise it or maintain certain parts of the software at some point. And if they dont end up updating the software that will be the end of Vaya or Hwindi. So at times its good to build your own. Because you can decide what to do with it. And sell it on later after business is established or do other stuff. I commend companies like Munch Zimbabwe for having a unique product and very little competition in that regard of the space they are operating. Lets see how ride hailing goes but we still need to see a qunique solution tailored for Zimbabwe and just watch we are coming with it. Have learnt to hush lest your idears get stolen prematurely. Kkkk

    1. TheKing

      I think the whole mentality of “my idea was stolen” is wrong. We should build products and have briliant marketing strategies. As soon as you put out your unique product, another company can replicate it. All I’m saying is eventually you are going to launch your product and someone with better resources will replicate it. Unfortunately, you wanted Econet to sign documents before viewing your technology, in my view, this could never work because you have everything to gain should Econet take you on. I’m not sure if you are bitter Econet did not take you on or you are just mad they went to India instead. Maybe you were not as competitive as the Indians

    2. Dickson

      Well, the way i see it is this is all business. Econet is not an NGO or the government of Zimbabwe. Hence, they are not obligated to helping start-ups or refrain from implementing ideas from other players. Econet is a private player with the sole purpose of making profits legally. If what they have done with Vaya is ‘stealing’ then why is Hwindi not taking this up with the courts? Because they have NO CASE!

  6. Bongisi

    Hwindi must not be intimidated here, they can still curve their niche and make enough money for themselves. Econet rate of failure is actually high just that they have enough money from voice and data to cover up. Talk of EcoFarmer, Ecoschool, I believe someone can still do products in those areas and make money even beat Econet. The only difference is theirs will be “free” data otherwise there’s nothing scary about Econet. They’re afraid of young innovative entrepreneurs that’s why they never make Ecocash API public and they make their products data free to stifle competition

  7. Patricko

    Hwindi got their platform from the Indian Company and customised for our market then they exhibited their solution in front of all the Mobile Operators and more under the Ministry of ICT and Potraz Innovation Fund in 2016 funded by the Mobile Operators. The whole idea was to fund viable projects, incubate them till they can make it their own. So Hwindi had to dissect and give out their whole product, shareholding, developers, business plan, financial projections, etc under the ‘Potraz Protection’. Innovators raised the issue of protection since they couldnt afford full IP registrations and were assured that all ideas and solutions presented would be protected and would not find their way into the streets. Econet was the company that was highlighted as a threat by innovators and Potraz again assured all the exhibitors that non of that would happen. Hungry and thirsty innovators didnt think of getting all this documented and signed. Now 2 years down the line Hwindi manages to kick off successfully with their own resources and boom ECONET comes up with exactly the same platform from exactly the same developers and a word to word site. One now wonders what this whole ICT Innovation Fund and other hubs are for? Is it a noble idea? or just a big fishing basket for ECONET? Do you honestly think that the innovators are going to exhibit well?

    1. Farai Mudzingwa

      What is POTRAZ position in all this. They are just watching this unfold?

    2. BTM

      1.)i think it is also important to know that not all ideas are can go through or will succeed in IP registration.I am not sure of the logic behind having an IP over an existing solution that was customised for the local environment.
      2.)When Hwindi was registered or when it started their app was targeting registered operators eg taxis etc so even if they had gotten an IP over that based on those conditions it will not have disqualified econet from entering the market.

      I personally do not think all this stuff about IP is good for the IT environment . . . If you have a very good and scalable product you will attract the right investment and it will not matter if your competitor has huge pockets.To increase innovation in Information Technology IPs should be completed removed,they discourage innovation.

  8. Boss Kedha

    Where were you kare kese aka, nhasi maakutaura becoz Econet yaita zvakanaka. Jealous down, Econet did well in this application its I am enjoying using it. Econet zvaazvingu

    Keep up the spirit Econet and I am inviting you to go and register for Vaya if you have your own car. You will make extra money yooooo

  9. Danai

    Thank you for the clarification TechZim. With the way Hwindi personnel are screaming ‘theft’ on Twitter you would think Econet even stole their office furniture! So Hwindi is complaining about something that they also borrowed from someone else? That’s school boy stuff 😂!

  10. Roy

    This is confusing. Econet toiziva but who is Hwindi🤷🏾‍♂️? Ndere kuna Fourth here or ndere ku Coppa Cabbana?

  11. Joe

    Anyone with contact details for this Indian company or web address andipewo

  12. Dzakabvuraudzwa Tombotiyo

    Econet is in the business of launching far too many products and ignoring them.
    Too many chiefs, too few Indians

  13. Tafadzwa M Sigauke

    Hwindi and Econet(Cumii) Programmers got the source code from the same source. Be it the Envato Code Market or whatever. Both apps are hybrid apps, not pure native. Probably written on Ionic or React Native. Nobody stole from anyone. Programmers from both fronts were lazy to code native apps for both Android and IOS.

  14. Blessing Nyamayedenga

    If they got the platform from the same developer then there is no issue , it’s sad that we can’t make our own apps .
    you want to be different make your own software it’s as simple as that

2023 © Techzim All rights reserved. Hosted By Cloud Unboxed

Exit mobile version