Empowerment Corporation of Zimbabwe
|Empowerment Corporation of Zimbabwe|
|James Makamba, Patrick Zhuwao, Jane Mutasa|
The Empowerment Corporation of Zimbabwe is a local consortium of businesses and individuals that was established for the establishment of Telecel Zimbabwe in 1998.
The Empowerment Corporation of Zimbabwe was established by a Zimbabwean business guru and politician James Makamba. It was created under the banner of the Zimbabwe Wealth Creation Council in 1996. It was made up of a consortium small scale indigenous organisations which included the War Veterans Association, the National Miners Association, the Zimbabwe Farmers Union and the Indigenous Business Women Organisation. According to information put before Parliament by Mutasa in 2011, when Empowerment Corporation was issued with a telecommunications licence, shareholding was as follows:
- Kestrel - 15% stake.
- Integrated Engineering Group (Owned by Leo Mugabe) - 10%
- ZF - 9%
- Indigenous Business Women Organisation - 9%
- National Miners Association - 9%
- Affirmative Action Group - 9%
- War Veterans Association - 9%
- Warehoused shares - 30%
Magamba eChimurenga is part of various groups that came together under the banner of the Empowerment Corporation, including Indigenous Business Women Organisation, led by Jane Mutasa, and Mines of Zimbabwe Association led by one Munyoro, as part of government initiatives to uplift the indigenous people.
In 2013, Empowerment Corporation was at the centre of controversy when the war veterans accused former chairman James Makamba of swindling them of their shares in December 2000. The war veterans among other things demanded 20% of Empowerment Corporation which was acquired by Telecel International through Makamba and a further 30% of Empowerment Corporation’s Telecel Zimbabwe shares which Makamba allegedly gave himself under unclear circumstances.
The War Veterans movement however eventually pulled out of the consortium. Through his involvement of grassroots organisations, James Makamba effectively turned ordinary Zimbabweans into cell phone entrepreneurs.
ECZ and Telecel Zimbabwe
The Empowerment Corporation of Zimbabwe owns 40% of the shares a local telecoms company Telecel Zimbabwe. The other 60% shares are owned by Telecel International.
One of the main reasons behind the formation of the corporation was to empower local Zimbabweans with the much needed economic and financial tools needed in the local economy. This resulted in the corporation targeting local groupings who needed assistance and these included small scale miners, indigenous farmers and traders. This resulted in a formidable corporation which went on to control a significant 40% state in the telecoms giant, Telecel Zimbabwe. In this regard, the Empowerment Corporation of Zimbabwe presented the locals with the golden opportunity to be shareholders in the mobile network service provider.
Fall Out With Government
There was a rift between Telecel Zimbabwe and government in 2013 when the company was forced to abide to the indigenisation policy which stipulated that all companies operating in the country should cede at least 51% of their share to locals. At this time, Telecel Zimbabwe was under the 60% share deal with Telecel International which was not a local company. Hence this was contrary to the government's policies.
Coming in of Zhuwao
Patrick Zhuwao was appointed managing director of Empowerment Corporation, the 40% shareholder in Telecel Zimbabwe, on July 1, 2013. Makamba is the major shareholder of Empowerment Corporation. The coming in of Zhuwao, who mis nephew to president Robert Mugabe was seen as a strategic move to re align the company's relations with the government at a time when the government was pursuing its indigenisation policy.