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

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.

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. Welcome to Zimbabwe, please fasten your seatbelts . If at any time the lights go off during the flights please blame sanctions. Thank you for flying Zanu PF airways.

  2. Main source of the problem is corruption. We need to uproot that meaning to sack All bthe thieves!!!!!!!.

  3. Zvino vakapinda vari worse $3 billion misses but tirikuwona ma jets nema Lamborghini etc etc

  4. It’s so sad to see the corrupt ones in power, who have no empathy to the plight of a common man. Only God can help us and bring us out of this mess.

    1. That’s the problem we rely on God to solve all our problems, instead of taking matters into our own hands

      1. And no big truth than this exists. Why do we make it a habit to ask God for a cigarette, the lighter, and while we are at it, for him to smoke for us? Just being alive is enough.

  5. Strive should persevere towards a power solution with the same conviction he had at the inception of Econet. Where is the never give up spirit?

    1. If a thirsty horse tries to kick you in the head after you lead it to the river, you might be better off leaving it alone to reconsider its life choices than trying to wrestle with it. This was Zanu’s opportunity to lose, not Strives.

  6. Strive is not to be trusted. Noone wanted an econet monopoly yePower saka ndezvakavo…. Mese muri mbavha zanu strive Trevor ncube mese…we read the wiki leaks cable “about that time 2007” shut up and sit down bond billionaire

    1. If he is a bond billionaire, then what are you??? Choose your words wisely and learn not to offend by words.

  7. Strive is not to be trusted. Noone wanted an econet monopoly yePower saka ndezvakovo…. Mese muri mbavha zanu strive Trevor ncube mese…we read the wiki leaks cable “about that time 2007” shut up and sit down bond billionaire

    1. So you actually believe having an alternative power supplier to ZESA is creating monopoly? Its either you are very naive or totally brainless

    2. Read infor below and tell us if this makes Him a bond billionaire.
      Econet Wireless Group (Econet)
      Econet Wireless (Econet) is a privately held global telecommunications company with business operations and investments in more than 20 countries in Africa, Latin America, The United Kingdom, Europe, China, United Arab Emirates (UAE), and New Zealand. The only listed entity is its Zimbabwean subsidiary. The Zimbabwean business is often mistaken as the holding company, because it is listed.

      Strive Masiyiwa owns over 50% of publicly traded Econet Wireless Zimbabwe. [38]

      Masiyiwa also has interests in the United States of America (USA). He has partnered with one of America’s leading telecoms entrepreneurs, John Stanton, in a venture called Trilogy International Partners, which built New Zealand’s third mobile network operator known as “2 Degrees”. Masiyiwa’s investment in Seattle based Trilogy International, have also helped him secure interests as an investor in Viva’s Bolivia and Dominican Republic businesses. Masiyiwa also has a controlling interest in a company based in Vermont USA, that manufacturers nano fibre carbon products, called Seldon Technologies.

      One of Masiyiwa’s most successful ventures is the London-based privately held Liquid Telecom Group, Africa’s largest satellite and fibre optic business spanning over 14 countries.[39]

      Other activities of Econet include enterprise networks, financial services, renewable energy, television and media (Kwesé TV).

      Philanthropy and humanitarian initiatives
      Masiyiwa is generally recognised as one of the most prolific philanthropists to ever come out of Africa.[40][3] He has used his own family fortune to build one of the largest support programs for educating orphans in Africa. At any given time his family foundations support and educate more than 40,000 children.[41][3] Masiyiwa is also a member of the Bill Gates and Warren Buffett initiative known as the Giving Pledge.[42]

      Masiyiwa is also involved in supporting a diverse range of health issues including campaigns against HIV/AIDS, Cervical Cancer, malnutrition, and more recently EBOLA. He is an avid environmentalist and together with Sir Richard Branson founded the environmental group, the Carbon War Room.[43]

      He recently[44] took over, from former UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, the chairmanship of AGRA, an organisation that supports Africa’s smallholder farmers.[44] In 2013, he was appointed co-chair of Grow Africa, the investment forum for Africa’s agriculture, which has helped mobilise over US$15 billion in investments for African agriculture.[45]

  8. Surely corruption has killed our economy. Here we’re, I still think Strive should reconsider the investment opportunity and invest in power

  9. 500MW is a lot but will not solve Zim’s power problems. Why didn’t he go to ZERA to get an IPP license and get his project off the ground?

    1. Kayef chirungu chinenge chinokunetsaiwo handiti? Ko kuti ZERA kwacho kunomboreveiko?
      Kkkkkk kayef hayayaya!

  10. Corruption has gained dominance so much that the leaders before us are making fortunes out of it.So sad that our leaders take pride in our lagging behind economy

  11. Lets give *(Strive)* him a chance ..i think strive is far much better as compared to Ed stupidious behaviour ..strive 85% correct ..

  12. Surely, in light of the corruption revelations by Messers Econet Wireless as exposed in the aforesaid report, the nation can sit back and continue to believe in the Inspired writings, read, Jeremiah 10:23
    Those who think they can stop corruption in this country are like A Builder building a house on a gunpowder foundation on a very HOT temperature; believe me you, where ever you’re!!!

  13. Lets open our minds. What monopoly are you talking off? Thats the problem with us failing to achieve the best. Are you tied to a log, if you have the plan present then you will these folks on your right and left side demanding bribes and positions.

  14. Vision is the most powerful tool. If you can not support your vision then support others. We are all aware that corruption in this country is at pick. But look now, someone has brought good news for you then you still rest on your previous issues, where do you think you can go? Weak leaks what?

  15. Strive that was the 2007 plan, what is the Plan now in 2019… there is need for progressive thought despite blockages

  16. That was 2007 and this is now, What is there Chief your country needs your super support and surely God didn’t make you a Billionaire for nothing he knew that there would be times like this and You would come in with National Solutions. My Brother People are suffering we could do with your support and not handouts!!!

    1. So why does that bother you as well? Seriously you believe they were supposed to report this to who? The same guys’ uncles and nephews?

  17. Let zera just cancel licences for those sitting on them waiting for speculative purposes and give able and willing companies to do it.am sure if strive was to reapproach the zera he will help us.he is politically correct this time as ed gvt is a buddie to him.vanemadhiri avo. Just discovered he isn’t a saint also

  18. We know the guys in authority are so corrupt that they forget the its effects boomerangs back on them, let alone the damage it causes to our beloved country. The guys who got the licenses so far seem to have “gone on a long honey moon” or ” using them as retirement homes / packages” while our country suffers.

    I wonder whether it matters how many functional electricity providers there should be in a country, for as long as they are regulated. I know of several countries which have several electricity providers which allows for competition and a steady supply of electricity in these countries. Why can’t we adopt the same models in Zimbabwe?

    My suggestion to Strive is keep fighting for a licence to produce electricity just as you did those years when you fought to launch Econet.

  19. We know the guys in authority are so corrupt that they forget the its effects boomerangs back on them, let alone the damage it causes to our beloved country. The guys who got the licenses so far seem to have “gone on a long honey moon” or ” using them as retirement homes / packages” while our country suffers.

    I wonder whether it matters how many functional electricity providers there should be in a country, for as long as they are regulated. I know of several countries which have several electricity providers which allows for competition and a steady supply of electricity in these countries. Why can’t we adopt the same models in Zimbabwe?

    My suggestion to Strive is keep fighting for a licence to produce electricity just as you did those years when you fought to launch Econet.

  20. And those saying that was 2007, do you think there’s a change in mentality at the top… He proposes the same and am sue he will meet the same statements.

  21. Start by solving how EcoSure is reaping the poor like us you get deducted for nothing and no refunds for that matter. Strive you complain about Zesa how do you define your own EcoSure

  22. 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

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

  25. 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

  26. 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

  27. 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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