Masiyiwa cries for fair business practices

Millionaire entrepreneur Strive Masiyiwa says Econet’s court battles in Zimbabwe and Nigeria tested the countries’ legal systems which are pivotal for the sustainability of real business.


Masiyiwa fought a five-year court battle for Econet to get an operating licence in Zimbabwe. His company also had to endure a gruelling court battle in Nigeria.


In an interview with Focus Magazine, Masiyiwa said businessmen want assurances that their investments would be protected.

“Because if you have property, you want to know that it can be protected. You shouldn’t be expecting to have it protected by the big man in office called the president. There has to be a system, there has to be a judiciaryand there has to be rule of law,” he said.

Masiyiwa said the five-year court battle for Econet Wireless Zimbabwe to get an operating licence was important “because one of the core things that came out was that everybody knew I was fighting a battle against corruption”.

“I could have solved that problem in one day by just agreeing to say, “Okay, I can accommodate this, I can accommodate that,” and it would have been over. And the people knew that. But I stuck it out,” Masiyiwa said.

“I went through the courts and fought the battle. It said to people, ‘Hey, you can stand up for what is right. You can say no to corruption.’ Africa needed to hear this message very loud — that it is possible to be in business, to do it with zero tolerance for corruption, and to be successful.”

Econet Wireless Zimbabwe is now the country’s largest mobile operator with a market share of over 50%.

In Nigeria, Econet fought a bigger battle in the courts and won which Masiyiwa said was significant in that “people could see for themselves that you could go to court in Nigeria and win”.

“Yes, you can win! You can go to the judges. They are good judges, fair judges. There are legal systems in these countries that need to be tested. They are important to the sustainability of real business,” Masiyiwa said.

Masiyiwa said corruption was rife on the continent and there will always be ambitious people who want to cut corners.

“…as a leader, you must send the signal that, “Yes, there are big bonuses to be earned here if you are successful. But if you pay bribes or cut corners or do things that can hurt the brand, then you will also pay a big price,” he said.

“What people don’t appreciate about corruption is this: Corruption takes two. It is not a one-sided affair.”

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  1. Great article and great insights by Mr. Masiyiwa. I however believe that the same process showed that the legal systems are reailient and will eventually prevail. It takes a tenacious leader to get the results. It is up to Africans to demand certain levelea of accountability and transparency in doing business. That said it is incumbant upon people like Me. Masiyiwa, to identify talent and mentor leadership and build the numbers needed to reach a turning point. This mentorship can take several levels and pick from varied pools of talent. Econet grew the required muscle to succeed by going through all this, now lets share those experiences and make our countries do busines with their people right first. This will nayural bring all the FDI we are looking for. Example would be 15 econet like entities have a higher impact on doing busines than 1 large econet.

    1. You started very well yemontorship yakwana papi. Kana uine extra zvekutaura other than commenting on what was written by strive, sit down and write an article and share such brilliant ideas coming out of you comment. Munhu haufanirwi kuvhiyiswa mbudzi yedare

      1. Thanks for that, however I thought and will always think we tend to say little and do very little. This was an opportunity for me to say all I could and can and maybe one day it will help. Fair business practice comes with other things linked to it and major one in this case is a lack of enough Zimbabwean owned businesses to change the business environment so that it is attractive to others, Thus mentor-ship by those who have done it in a practical way such as incubation and acceleration can be effective. Econet on the other hand is a primate and tends to destroy those that could help it change the business environment, thus make it fair

  2. What of the money econet is stealing from the subscribers? Thats the price you pay when you steal from your clients too.

  3. When econet stops stealing from its customers and shutting out competition then it can talk of fair business practices. Iyezvino dai vambotimirira masasi iwayo

  4. I also hope Mr Masiyiwa advise his companies to also be fair in their business dealings with others. It is difficult to do business with Econet companies from Econet itself to Steward Bank. They squeeze others and their employees have grown big brother mentality.

  5. Inspiring article I should say. Econet’s way of doing business and Mr Masiyiwa’s public image are two very different things all together. Econet is ruthless when dealing with others. It has poor business ethics when dealing with other smaller companies I being a victim a few years back. I have dealt with a number of companies but the worst is Econet management.This is very different from the image we have come to know of Mr Masiyiwa. If Mr Masiyiwa you are ever going to read this its either something is not right with your system of doing business in Econet or you are a hypocrite but something tells me you are not. Anyway its difficult for rabbit to communicate with elephant. Elephant’s ears are just too high up.

  6. Econet is a disguting thief and liar of an institution. Always stealing subscribers money…i hope the legal battles continues on in Nigeria and their licence be cancelled. I remeber sometime last year Econet subcribers went on for a month failing to connect to Telecel numbers…what kind of a service provider does that. Econet disgusts me, its good at bullying other service providers

  7. Dindingwe rinonaka richakweva rimwe shuwa, zvaipa nekuti ndimi mokwevewa. Ko imi zvomunotikweva pashoma patinapo kuno tochema kunani.

    Ini ziii zvangu.

  8. Iwe Strive ungave nzou nhasi asi kugunun’unirwa nevanhu vakawanda kwakaipa.Airtym,mabundles,ecofarmer,eco what what.half baked products asi mari watodya kudhara.ndizvo zvaunoitira manigerian here.i don’t think so vangadei vakakudzingirira kudhara.Chakaipa chakaipa asi chakanaka tinotenda.thanks for ma fees evana nenherera.Ane nzeve anonzwa

  9. Econet ill treats its employees, they even used the common law to fire employees.Up to now they have not paid those employees their dues according to the new amendment. And to cry foul over judicial systems its something disgusting Strive Masiyiwa, Mboweni and Nyambirai should go to hell.

  10. Strive akafanana na Diego Costa and his former coach Mourinho.Very rough kune vamwe asi ingo mupusher a little bit uone noise inobuda ipapo…MAIWE MAIWE NDOFA KANI.Referee haasi fair.heee vaparker bhazi pagate,heee.Diego Costa when not on the field is said to be a super gentleman.

  11. The corrupt suppliers complain when they come across anti-corruption systems at Econet & Steward Bank! Also, Fees have to be set at a level that sustains business kwete zvema parastatal apera kudonha. Viva Econet.

    1. You have not dealt with these companies, actually the corrupt get it well with these organisations. Strive may not be corrupt but his middle management is terrible.

  12. its funny you can see the bad things happening elsewhere yet in your own organization they is disaster you are duping people daily and they are no returns to the community you claim you offer scholarships but seems they are only available for people within your organization .
    you introduced the per second billing and everyone was happy but is that still working cause the last time i checked if you have 10 cents the woman with the nice voice pops up “You have insufficient credit to make this call ” you claim you offer best service but if get in trouble for instance you line blocks at night the customer service does not work but if you call telecel`s customer care be it at 10pm they respond you are a coward its better if they strip you off your license nxa

  13. This idiot Masiyiwa is a capitalist masqeurading as a Philanthropist…bleeding Zimbabweans dry charging exhorbitantly for services that are free in other networks outside Zimbabwe. Akatengesa nyika naNkomo wake

    1. His very close friendship with Richard Branson a self confessed atheist , vocal gay sympathiser and probably gay never ceases to have questions ringing.kutotraveller vese globally in the same plane. i hope they dont sneek into each other’s hotel rooms pakati peusiku

    2. Blind eyewitness

      To be fair, I am yet to come across a philanthropist who in attaining wealth did not take advantage of those less privileged than themselves. All the famous ones have been capitalist at their core………At least he gives back the little that he does.

      At the end of the day we always have a choice of whether we want to use his product (econet) or not, if we end up using econet its a statement that; of the country’s service providers, it probably is the most convenient and convenience comes at a price.

    3. I think the term idiot on Strive is not fair. Yes his companies are also duping people but that term idiot is only reserved for zanupf please.

  14. Tatowanawo mukana wekuchema-chema. Indi ndakazongooonawo message pafoni pangu yaakuti tadhidhakita 5cents dzeEcoHealth. Ini handidi hangu kubhdhara 5cents every week for infor that can be googed. I tried to unsubscribe but zviri kuramba. Kuti hapana ari kutodya hake akanyarara ipapa? Musadero Mr Masiyiwa – 5 cents is money kune vamew vanu vakaiat sesu.

  15. Strive Masiyiwa, you are just a hypocrite. You are presiding over a thieving machine in Zimbabwe. Econet is a brand of petty thieves stealing money from battered and poor Zimbabwe includingh grandmothers in the village

  16. chapomba vakuru chaivo

    What happened to Ecolife???? Veduwee musadaro.. over 2 years mari ichiyenda zvozongonzi ziii??? Hameno…asi dai matidzoserawo mari dzedu dze ecolife.

  17. Musharukwa Mutape

    Mr Masiyiwa, thank you so very much for the insights and stance on corruption and all its manifestations. However, I would want to bring to your attention that corruption is rife in Econet. Why is it that all local outdoor (billboard) suppliers had their contract terminated at the behest of Mr Stan and he went on to engage Alliance Media who are based in South Africa? Stan cut deals with Alliance in Jo’burg in the absence of all other outdoor media practitioners. Besides why would Stan invite Zimbabwean suppliers to go to Jo’burg to pitch on Zimbabwean media space? Payments are done to Alliance in South Africa with respect to media space in Zimbabwe. If that is not externalisation and corrupt practice, what is? Econet will squeeze you on price and take forever to settle the invoices. The companies that stood with you when you launched are being sidelined now because of corrupt officials and corrupt systems. Please investigate and come to the rescue of the Zimbabwean Outdoor companies that stood by you from day one.

  18. Yes, Econet is being unfair , internet charges with econet are so expensive in zim as compared to neighbouring countries in the region. Go to Moza and find out how much you will need to access internet-very cheap i tell u . Please Mr Masiwa let zimbos have access to internet at cheaper tariffs so that life becomes easy at least

  19. Dear Mr Masiya – thank you for raising the ternets of fairness. It is upon these pillars that we humbly submit that you reduce internet connectivity charges. They are awfully high and killing us and yet in this day and age you can not do without internet access. Please take a leaf from your Partner Cell C who charges 5 rands per month for Whatsapp compared to $2 per week charged by your company.

  20. Pardon Marembende


    U guys wake up. I can see u are all used to this hogwash and your sight is blurred. Without Strive as the big player in mobile cellular services you guys will still be in the stone age. What has been done by the other players to improve products and services. Of course u will never appreciate and i am not surprised. I find it funny that u can not see how difficult conditions were and are set for this innovative Strive to invest and do business in his own country. This is why he has succeeded doing business in other countries than Zimbabwe. Because you have been corrupted to the marrow i doubt very much if you guys will ever open your eyes to see clearly. You must appreciate Strive for sustaining his businesses in an economy where most players have closed shop. His businesses are legally operating, paying taxes and licenses as required by authorities unlike others who are shielded by corrupt government goons.

    1. You are the one who needs to wake up. What has Strive and Econet done to take Zim out of the stone age that the other networks haven’t done? If you are happy with him shafting you while you smile and say Yes Sir thats your own indaba. He steals money from the population and no thief has any morals.

  21. I for one am buffled by Econet. Whilst the founder tries to potray fairness in business, i should say his companies lacks ethics. Why is Whats app calling banned by econett platform yet in other countries it is accepted.

  22. treat us fairly and you will get the same from your competitors.

  23. Cry baby Strive and a great thief via EcoThives

    What happened tour monies under EcoLife ?

    You are a thief period.

  24. Econet a rip off and Monoply.Let Mtn and Vodacom in and Econet wont last five minuites with there rediculous charges.

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