If you thought only Cats had monopoly over longevity, then you might need to rethink your theory. Former ICT, Postal and Courier Services minister Cde Webster Shamu is indeed a survivor. After having been sacked from his ICT ministerial post in 2014, Shamu yesterday bounced back as Minister of State for Mashonaland West Provincial Affairs.
From the times of the liberation struggle, stories are told of how he could easily avoid imprisonment and incarceration. He even changed his name from Charles Ndlovu to Webster Shamu, the reasons behind the re-branding are however sketchy as many theories are thrown around.
After the 2014 fiasco in which Shamu was accused of conniving with the devil (Joyce Mujuru) in their plot to assassinate President Robert Mugabe and take over power, no one ever thought Shamhu would bounce back as a Cabinet minister.
Shamu served as ICT minister from the year 2013 to December 2014, probably the shortest period an ICT minister has ever served under that portfolio.
Old age, natural fear of technology and basic lack of understanding of the technology itself dogged the man till his last day in office.
During his stint at the helm of the ICT ministry, Shamu achieved NOTHING!!! All he would do was get to a function, play a game of crazy eight with Sulumani Chimbetu or Kapfupi, then give out some cash and go. Thats basically what he was known for during his one year with the sector.
The state in which the sector was in when he came in, so was it when he was booted out by President Mugabe. It has become clear that Shamu can only run non technical ministries and placing him anywhere close to one would be no different from placing him in semi retirement home.
Here is a look at what Sahmu did during his 9 months or so as minister of ICT.
During his tenure as ICT minister, not only did Zimbabwe see the re-introduction of duty on ICTs but the dry state coffers saw a walk in the park opportunity to even squeeze more from the second largest tax paying sector in the country.
For the first time in the country, Zimbabwe was slapped with a whooping 70% duty, a move which today i have always said will render the telecommunications sector unsustainable, dead and buried before someone else new tries to resurrect the once most promising sector.
The deepest cut was caused by 5 percent excise duty on airtime sales, a 25 percent duty on handsets and ICT products and a 5 cents levy per transaction on mobile money transfers, compounded by a 35 percent voice tariff reduction and all this happened just under his nose!
The ICT policy had gone through national consultative processes and awaiting finilasation, before the appointment of Shamu but the whole process was dragged and stalled, till up until today, Zimbabwe has no functional ICT policy.
This has forced the nation to continue to waste resources on debates and talks on pertinent issues like sharing infrastructure, mobile money regulation and internet privacy act.
Most of these issues were however deliberated during the nationwide consultations and there is lack of will power to drive this into a national bill. Besides the fundamental policy issues, Shamu was the only ICT minister who successfully shunned the media, he wanted no press conference before him and avoided every journalist who dared approached him.
Of course we had to push through harder than before we got the opportunity to broadcast one or two interviews with him on Youtube, but these would be seriously timed and controlled confining them to the premeditated questions.