By Phil Tejane|
The political wrangle between president Robert Mugabe and his former deputy, Joice Mujuru, has been blamed for the government-ordered closure of Telecel, Zimbabwe’s third largest mobile phone network.
State regulator Potraz announced Wednesday it had cancelled Telecel’s licence claiming the network had defied a government directive to hand majority shareholding to local blacks. Among those jockeying for a share of the company is Mugabe’s Grace and nephew Patrick Zhuwao, whose recent bid to take over as CEO flopped.
Telecel is owned 60 percent by Netherlands-based VimpelCom Ltd and a local consortium headed by Mujuru’s relative James Makamba, who is now exiled. Makamba was controversially granted approvals when Mujuru was information minister in the 1990s.
Telecel blasted the government for withdrawing its licence and vowed to take legal action in Zimbabwean and international courts.
“This measure is unfair and unwarranted,” Telecel said. “Telecel has made every effort to comply with all legal and governmental requirements in Zimbabwe, and objects to this treatment in the strongest terms. Telecel and its global shareholders are taking immediate action both locally and internationally to challenge this decision.”
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