The datawars which erupted in early January and which appeared to have been resolved may have been escalated again after ICT Minister Supa Mandiwanzira launched an attack on Econet Wireless Zimbabwe and its founder Strive Masiyiwa. Mandiwanzira was appearing before the ICTs Parliamentary Portfolio Committee yesterday (Monday).
The committee which is chaired by MDC-T Vice President Nelson Chamisa was told by Mandiwanzira that Masiyiwa wanted to use Econet to take over from President Robert Mugabe. Masiyiwa was accused of harbouring presidential ambitions and wanting to follow the example of United States President Donald Trump. Although he did not mention Masiyiwa by name, Mandiwanzira made it clear that he was speaking about Masiyiwa.
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It’s not my job to react emotionally to emotional reactions from institutions but it’s very clear when you read the statement that the anger was not on the price. The anger was on something else.
I do not want to believe market speculation that one person very connected to Econet may have wanted to announce the Donald Trump like bid for presidency in this country on the first of January this year.
Mandiwanzira also said that the rather prohibitive data pricing model which was introduced by Econet may have tarnished Masiyiwa’s image making him reconsider. After public outrage and a huge public outcry over the new tariffs, the Minister and Econet engaged in a war of words blaming each other. Said Mandiwanzira
This fiasco may have cast him in bad light, exposed him as unreasonable, selfish, grandstanding liar and that this may have been an opportunity that they have squandered in the expose that came out.
Last year there was intense speculation on social media that Strive Masiyiwa was going to announce his presidential aspirations. However, contrary to Mandiwanzira’s claims, Masiyiwa said that he had no interest at all in politics dismissing the speculation as fake news.