‘Telecel management mere placeholders’

FRESH details have revealed that excessive shareholder control and lack of management autonomy pushed out former Telecel Zimbabwe chief executive officer Francis Mawindi from the telecommunications firm, as more drama continues to unfold.

Staff Reporter

Mawindi stepped down at the end of March after less than a year in office. Impeccable sources close to the developments told NewsDay that any successor to Mawindi who has no backing from, and does not fall in line with the anchor shareholder, Egypt-based Orascom, could head for another clash with the board.

The sources said Orascom would often bypass decisions made by local management rendering the chief executive non-effective in discharging his duties.

Telecel Zimbabwe, sources said, requires authorisation and approval from Egypt for virtually everything valued at over $25 000 and in most cases outsources practically all purchases including consulting services regardless of whether the products or services can be readily sourced from the local market.

The sources also said there was a plot to wrest control of the local consortium by fronting local investors with close links to Orascom. The telecommunications firm is 60% owned by Telecel International, while the Empowerment Corporation — a local consortium of individuals and groups — owns 40%.

“The management contract with Orascom as per the existing shareholders agreement with the Empowerment Corporation needs to be looked into, its terms and conditions including Orascom’s specific, real and clear mandate in that respect,” said a source who requested anonymity.

“In most cases, it’s more of providing a supporting role to assist the local operation whereas in actual fact Orascom has wholesomely assumed ownership of management responsibilities including dictating policies and procedures especially as it pertains to HR and Administration matters, procurement, technical and commercial operations including recruitment for critical positions.”

Repeated efforts to get comment from Mawindi, Telecel management and Orascom were in vain. Questions sent to Telecel and Orascom over a month ago were not responded to.
Mawindi took over from expatriate John Swaim who was then the acting chief executive officer.

A US-born Swiss national, Swaim was at one stage deported from Zimbabwe and later returned after strong lobbying from different local groups with vested interest at the mobile communications company. Swaim has since been tipped to return at the helm of Telecel.


13 Responses to ‘Telecel management mere placeholders’

  1. Skivvy May 16, 2013 at 10:02 am #

    I thought the 60% Orascom shareholding was sold to a Russian Company (Vimpecom or something like that)

  2. Hacha Ndizvo May 16, 2013 at 11:49 am #

    wakanak Graci,
    wakanaka mukadzi wangu

  3. Chief May 16, 2013 at 1:25 pm #

    Haaa where is this Graci coming from on this Telecel issue?

  4. Matope May 17, 2013 at 10:52 am #

    I hope telecel will put its house inorder before Saviour Kasukwere and co comes for the “cash cow”

  5. Mupfana May 17, 2013 at 12:44 pm #

    VIVA ECONET ! U can march on mafero! Im proud to be associated with you not zvimwe izvi.

  6. Lazy Boy May 17, 2013 at 12:50 pm #

    While it’s a piece for the newsroom I don’t really think this is a unique situation to Telecel or it’s out of the ordinary. There local consortium has 40% holding and surely they play an important role on who is appointed CEO. Obviously there are noise makers, the likes of Dr Gomo and his AAG group, Themba Mliswa & Company who are muck rackers. A lot of foreign-owned companies have these internal control systems to safeguard their investments and if you don’t do that you could be surprised to hear that your business has collapsed. A lot of foreign companies owned by individuals have collapsed locally because they had given local managers too much autonomy. As long as the local shareholders are satisfied with decisions made by managing partner there is no story. Everyday managers are resigning from corporates for a host of reasons. Too much autonomy again can be so damaging to a business because some executives do not know where to draw the line. Expatriates are also required in our corporates so as to bring in diverging systems and first world standards as this helps uplift local industry competitiveness.

    • nm May 20, 2013 at 3:56 pm #

      some sense

  7. Kufandada May 17, 2013 at 1:08 pm #

    There is nothing wrong with majority shareholder exercising rigid controls,including caps on expenditure.That is good management.If an MD does not agree with policies or flouts them,or does not share the vision of the major shareholder,then he has no future in that organisation.It is also cleverr organisational politics to understand the role of the most influential directors in the company.Being at the top is not just a matter of pushing up profits,there is a lot of delicating balancing of the interests of the various stakeholders.Listening to the likes of Jane Mutasa and attempting to indegenise procurement through corrupt deals does can not save your job from aa foreign controlled entity that expects integrity and accountability.

    • Rusvingo May 18, 2013 at 1:02 pm #

      Unfortunately, according to your “delicate balancing”, neglecting or avoiding Jane and others will result in your downfall.

      Ladies and Gentlemen, the issue here is that there is opaque and confusing culture at this company. The problem appears to be located right in the board room, where shareholders try to exert influence through schemes and plots to outmanoeuvre each other. The CEO is a pawn in such terrible circumstances and is destined for failure, unless he/she is a master politician. Most business schools don’t teach politics, but it would appear that it is increasingly becoming a fundamental ingredient for individual success.

      Whether that (politics) result in organizational performance, no one really knows.

      However, too much politics is known to disrupt business operations, as people invest heavily in alliances and factions, instead of strategies of taking the company forward. It’s almost impossible to attract and retain talent in such situations, as the political godfathers sniff out those who appear uninterested to join their camps. Eventually, the company becomes vulnerable to external shocks and will collapse or be acquired by competitors.

  8. Mageja Siziba May 18, 2013 at 6:38 pm #


  9. taps May 20, 2013 at 9:31 am #

    the problem is that kana Muzimba akapihwa control anoba manje apa vari kungochema chema zvavo, but Orascom is just protecting its money kana nemiwo ungaisa mari wobva waenda zvako kunorar here , for me thumps up to Orascom coz maCEO emuzimbabwe imbavha except for a few who are being kept under close control.

    • kododo May 20, 2013 at 10:44 am #

      Shut up and stop insulting your own people over this Telecel issue, whats so special about them, there are better and bigger players doing quiet well under the stewardship of local people. Kana iwe uri mbavha speak for self unless you think all blacks are crooks. Shows you have never been in the corridors of corporate power, white poeple are also corrupt but the difference is that its kept a secret to protect racial integrity hezvoka vana Wendall vakazosungwa nefraud vakuru. In any case vomuno vakaba mari yacho inogara muno but vokuEgypt vakaba mari yacho goes out and this leaves us much poorer as a country.

  10. Mwinyi May 20, 2013 at 7:25 pm #

    What or who is telecel in zim? Get away. Hatidi nezvikomo zvedu. You can disturb our econet internet. That internal conflict should continue

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