Whilst we were busy ranting about the fuel prices, a war was happening on Twitter between Kuda Musasiwa and Natalie Jabangwe. Kuda Musasiwa is that guy behind Fresh In A Box and Natalie Jabangwe is the CEO of EcoCash– both popular figures.
What started as a threat to sue EcoCash for ignoring the practice of its agents to charge premiums by Kuda Musasiwa ended up being a personal attack on him by Natalie Jabangwe.
How did it start?
Everybody knows the modus operandi of many EcoCash agents these days- they are selling cash. Perhaps out of anger of buying cash from an EcoCash agent, Kuda Musasiwa ran a poll asking people to join him in a class action against EcoCash for allowing this practice to happen under their nose.
He went on to say that EcoCash was reluctant to stop this practice by its agents since it benefits when people cash out more money than they had to through higher fees.
Natalie enters the scene
Angered by Kuda Musasiwa’s accusations, EcoCash’s CEO came blazing with a personal attack which, no doubt, belittled Kuda Musasiwa’s business acumen.
After that tweet, Natalie did the unthinkable, she just blocked Kuda Musasiwa.
EcoCash rescues itself
As I said earlier on, Kuda Musasiwa is a popular figure so his words reach many corners of Zim. Being aware of this, EcoCash decided to issue a press release warning agents who are selling cash to stop this practice.
It goes on and on
Even with the warning, EcoCash sent out, Kuda Musasiwa still had no kind words for ECoCash’s CEO as he went on to take aim at her even though she had blocked him.
Anyway, should EcoCash be blamed and is it benefiting?
Yes, I agree that EcoCash should probably be blamed for not doing enough to curb this problem of people paying a premium to get cash. I guess they haven’t even tried to come up with ‘whatever’ measures to dissuade the agents from defrauding people besides this kind of warning which they also issued out last year.
Check how Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter and so forth are trying all sorts of things to sanitize their platforms from fake news. WhatsApp went as far as to source for ideas from the public on how it can tackle the disease of fake news. But I’m not seeing this kind of action from EcoCash.
However, the blame is not entirely EcoCash’s. In fact, all the blame lies with the so-called Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) which is mandated to prevent money-related crimes. The organisation is virtually non-existent, judging by what’s happening in the CBD where you see moneychangers holding ‘bricks’ of assorted currencies. Actually, these are the guys to blame for the premiums we are being charged to get cash. If the FIU was fully functioning, I’m so sure that firms like EcoCash would seriously devote the minds and resources to curb the selling of cash by its agents.
All in all, I believe EcoCash has nothing to do with what their agents are doing. It’s merely because electronic money and physical money is not equally valued in Zimbabwe, that we are seeing people (not EcoCash agents only) trading money. The source of this discrepancy can actually be traced back to our unpopular central bank, The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.
If anything, EcoCash has a wider smile on its face when people don’t cash out (money stays in their system) than when they get money out of their financial ecosystem through cashing out. So I would like to think that EcoCash has more motive to stop its agents from pouring out more money out of EcoCash.