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Strive Masiyiwa Says, “I Could Have Solved Zim’s Power Crisis 12 Years Ago BUT Corruption”

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Strive Masiyiwa

Zimbabwe’s dominant mobile network operator, Econet had a complete blackout today. Subscribers could not make or receive calls, send or receive SMS, access internet services and most importantly, could not access EcoCash, the mobile money service. Lack of access to EcoCash is most significant because it is the de facto cash in Zimbabwe’s cashless economy.

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The telecoms giant has blamed the persistent load shedding by Zimbabwe’s power utility, ZESA. Econet says there was a fault with the generators supporting the network during power outages. Econet says the problem has been solved and connectivity is gradually being restored across the country.

In light of this, Econet’s founder and Zimbabwe’s most decorated entrepreneur, Strive Masiyiwa has commented:

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Why I hate corruption!

In about 2007, as Zimbabwe lurched into hyper inflation, and foreign currency disappeared, our local management were faced with a big, big problem:

Electrical power!

The cell phone network is one of the biggest single consumer of electricity in the country. Over 10MW distributed nationally. Base stations were collapsing, and service was degrading on a daily basis.

The management travelled to SA to meet the board and discuss an emergency solution:

We brought in experts including many former engineers of the national power company [ZESA] to try and understand what could be done.

There is no problem without a solution, if you bring in the right people!


Finally we came up with a plan, and we asked the CEO of Econet Zimbabwe to present it to the management of ZESA:

The plan would have unlocked over $250m in loans guaranteed by us, and over 500MW of power. It would have seen the country able to build new facilities.

The response from the ZESA management [at the time] was scandalous!

Totally scandalous!

They told us: “since you are not popular with government, they will not listen to you. Let’s form a private company with some of our own executives, and you can lend money to that company secretly!” 

One even proposed his brother as a director of such a company!

I was stunned when I heard. 


Next we approached the power regulator, and asked for an independent license to produce power. They told us that they had already given licenses to people who had not built, so they could not issue another license, even though they appreciated, we could build!

And guess what?!

The politically connected guys who had licenses were then tipped off, and they came rushing to see us, with the most ludicrous corrupt proposals:

“You provide 100% funding, and give me 51% for free” one demanded.

One guy even flew to SA in a bid to see me personally!

I refused to even see him!

Our board withdrew the efforts, and we just gritted our teeth to weather the storm.


We were forced to shut down large sections of our network.

Sad!

Strive Masiyiwa

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49 thoughts on “Strive Masiyiwa Says, “I Could Have Solved Zim’s Power Crisis 12 Years Ago BUT Corruption”

  1. Mr strive you are weak. If someone like you with so much resources and being one of the most influencial people in the country come face to face with corruption and you put your tail in between your legs and cower off, who then are you crying to now? The most poor and weaker helpless citizens? Dayi mwwari akapa ma resources iwawo to someone else who could stand for the people in their time of need

    1. The man fought what is to this day an unprecedented battle and won, and after that came back to the same Govt with HIS OWN A** on the line for a $250 mill loan and you think him weak?! Yah, I can see why we are neck deep in this morass

  2. Its so good you did not get the license coz dei wakaiwana tingadai tirikurohwa mapercentage kumagetsi. You tok of corruption yekuzesa ko yeecocash irimuhapwa dzako inoitwa nyange nemukereke chaimo. Tinyararire hedu isu usatipinze bhizi nekuti yeuchidza maronda atoziva kuti tinawo.

  3. Since the commencement of this institutionalized program Corruption in the days of Paweni-Kangai and Willowvale motor scandals there’s no going back to normalcy in this country Zimbabwe.

  4. Talking about energy former Energy minister, J Gumbo was in management at Hwange CC and current minister Chasi was also secretary to the HCC board for many years! Have run out of capable people that President ED saw it fit to entrust the energy portfolio to these two! Where are the advisors to the president? Let’s be serious about energy. T

  5. In Zim we have three problems that I nid nids to addressed
    1)we always think inside box buh we don’t look outside cos we always cry fowl of sunctions but we have many resources n better skilled pple and I don’t think tt we have been put under sanction for the sun why can’t we have big solar projects

  6. Zimbabwe needs to go green to better itself systems of solar power can solve these problems developed countries are all going green why don’t we.

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