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Econet Threat To Sue Social Media Guy Rutendo Matinyarare, Wise Move Or Not?

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Econet Logo at their HQ

Last year or last week, Econet and its founder Strive Masiyiwa were cast into the spotlight with not only the Twitter story that saw the founder and his wife delete their Twitter accounts but also with some ugly allegations. These allegations are being voiced by South African based Zimbabwean Rutendo Matinyarare on various social media platforms.

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Econet then responded to this guy by threatening him with a 20 million Rand lawsuit. Amidst all this, the question that sprang to my mind is: Was is it a good thing for Econet to threaten Rutendo Matinyarare with a lawsuit? It’s a bit tricky to say which was the perfect option, so its Yes and No.

Yes in what sense?

Yes in the sense that Econet is a big company not only in Zimbabwe but globally  (Econet Wireless). And that ‘bigness’ comes with an equally big reputation to protect. So any careless statements such as those by Rutendo or smear campaigns (by some people) may take a toll on Econet both locally and internationally. Don’t forget that Econet largely depends on finance (shareholders, creditors etc.) from foreign countries-so who knows if these people/institutions won’t stop pumping in their money if Econet does some shady deals such as those being publicised by Rutendo? In light of this, don’t you agree that Econet is justified to threaten Rutendo with a lawsuit and asking him to retract his statements?

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Also, the threat by Econet serves as a future deterrent against those who would want to intentionally conduct some smear campaigns against it.  Let’s face it, Econet has enemies just like anyone and these enemies would naturally want to tarnish its name whenever they have an opportunity. What’s the perfect way of guarding against the enemies? By setting an example with one person through getting him incarcerated or pay R20 million damages. Nobody wants to be subjected to this so nobody will dare to engage in smear campaigns. In other words, Econet’s serves to discourage people who want to blot Econet’s reputation in the future. From that, it was wise of Econet to do this.  

No in what sense?

Social media is well-known to be a platform that people use to disseminate fake news and conspiracy theories. Accordingly, had Econet kept quiet people would have just treated Rutendo’s allegations as one bunch of nonsensical things people write on social media platforms. But by issuing this legal threat, Econet has inadvertently (unintended consequence) put itself in the spotlight. The next thing any normal and curious person will do after seeing Econet’s letter is to ‘google’ all those allegations Rutendo made. Who knows what they will find on Google and the conclusions they might come up with? The worst case scenario is that they will come to conclusions that agree with Rutendo’s allegations.

Furthermore, who knows if the government won’t start to take a look at some of these allegations since already it ( the government) seems like it takes social media allegations seriously, with respect to the RBZ officials and Acie Lumumba story. So I just think that Econet would have served its best interest if only it had let Rutendo’s statements slide.

But this is just my reasoning, I don’t know about you. What do you think?

EconetAcie LumumbaStrive Masiyiwa

Econet Wireless Zimbabwe, a subsidiary of Econet Wireless International, is the first and largest mobile network services provider in Zimbabwe. The telecoms giant became popular with its products and services such as Buddie. It has established branches in different corners of the country and enjoys... Read More About Econet

Lumumba William Gerald Mutumanje aka Acie Lumumba is a Zimbabwean politician and media personality. He is a former member of the Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front (ZANU PF). He has been accused of misappropriation of funds and corruption on a number of occasions. In... Read More About Acie Lumumba

Strive Masiyiwa (born 1961) is a Zimbabwean born entrepreneur, and philanthropist. He is the founder and chairman of Econet Wireless International a global telecommunications group. In 2002, Masiyiwa made it to the Time Magazine List of Most Influential People, and in March 2014, he was... Read More About Strive Masiyiwa

4 thoughts on “Econet Threat To Sue Social Media Guy Rutendo Matinyarare, Wise Move Or Not?

  1. the evidence of the allegations are difficult to prove from a laymen’s view, pamwe munhu akungowawata. Econet’s silence still speaks a lot so i think filing a lawsuit is a move.

  2. kutya chati kwata hunge uine katurike,so goes a ffamous shona saying/

    The speed and venom at which Econet has responded to the so called “baseless” allegations raises more dust than settling it.
    Econet should have just dismissed the story with the contempt that it deserves but i think when they start throwing lawyers and 20 million rand suit, it gonna look like a bull in a china shop. People tend to sympathies with the weak .

    Also through its founder and his wife the company has been supporting or is seen to be supporting the current regime in Zimbabwe that has been accused of 1 august cold murder and massacre of innocent souls by the commission of inquiry recently. It is its misplaced support of current regime that has morphed into the hatred exhibited many social users who are beginning to question the sainthood of Econet and its founders that had been bestowed upon them during Mugabe era.

    Many still remember that Econet once sold sim cards for USD 100 and up to now Zimbabwe has the highest data tariffs in Africa and the world at large and Econet is dominant player in that market.

    I think Econet has no social media strategy , as such it failed to respond accordingly on social media and if not careful it will be a scenario of an elephant that beats its trunk against a tree till it dies because a small ant is crawling in its nostrils

  3. Have you made any efforts to verify Rutendos claims? Or, is it presumed to be a smear campaign. In my experience, most rumours are founded in truths.

    The truth to his claims is what actually has bearing on whether the lawsuit is justified.

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