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ZOCC Challenges ZMC Accreditation Process

The Zimbabwe Online Content Creators (ZOCC),  has filed an urgent chamber application to challenge the recently promulgated new accreditation criteria by the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC).

The new regulations would see accreditation criteria altered and split into different categories, some of which would disadvantage online content creators as they would fail access certain state events.

ZOCC views these changes as counter productive and reduces media freedoms and rights as espoused in various statutes, of which Zimbabwe is a signatory.

ZOCC president Toneo  Rutsito said that the move by the ZMC is illegal and is likely to be abused to the disadvantage of various online content creators, on whose behalf the court action is being made.

  “ZMC is only empowered to accredit local and foreign journalists  according to Statutory Instrument  169C of 2002, the introductions of other categories are in  violation of  section 61 and  62 of the Zimbabwe constitution; needless to say, if goes unchallenged, the  ZOCC members will be discriminated and denied access from state  events on the basis of ID colour”, said the ZOCC president.

                         
“This can not be allowed to go unchallenged as our members are already being  denied access to certain state events on borderline frivolous grounds.” he continued.

“ZOCC strongly believes in the  freedom of media and upholding of ethical, credible and  balanced  journalism,  as cornerstone values that  build and  strengthen the media  society. “
                                             
  “We yearn for  an era where media laws are relaxed or repealed and allow each and every media practitioner to self regulate as they continue to play their  pivotal role of the fourth estate” added Toneo.

                     
ZOCC is a voluntary  association of Online Content  Creators  comprised of bloggers, vlogers, animators, graphics players amongst others who predominantly  publish their  creativity on the Internet.

We had hoped that the  current negotiations between the ZMC and MISA would bring closure to the matter without any need to drag each other to the courts but however the  discussions did not yield a favorable response and its now a threat to our existence.

Signed ZOCC Spokesperson

Sean Moyo

0773108603

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Masiyiwa Speaks On His African Union Special Envoy role

Businessman Strive Masiyiwa has spoken about his new role as the ‘African Union’s Special Envoy to Coordinate the Africa Private Sector Initiative for the Procurement of PPEs and other Essential Supplies’.  Masiyiwa was recently appointed to the role by the African Union through its Chairperson, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Masiyiwa wrote:

#Update on my job as one of the Special Envoys on Africa’s COVID-19 Response:

This is currently my #1 job!

I’m working on average 10 hrs per day to find solutions, as per my mandate.

#Find critical supplies – Unblock the Supply Chain!

Africa has a critical shortage of key items, which are also in short supply worldwide.

#Testing Kits:

We need about 15million per month, if the continent is to achieve the level of Testing that will contain the spread of the disease and also eliminate lockdowns.

We are currently getting 2,5million per month, or about 50 000 per country!

These Test Kits are actually not easy to produce and setting up production factories will take time.

Every country has a shortage of these kits, including the USA.

We are close to meeting our target now. And there are innovations coming through which will see us eliminate the shortage completely.

#Personal Protection Equipment for Doctors, nurses and healthcare workers:

The specification required of PPE for those handling sick patients is extremely high, as it should be. The supply of such PPE is in critical global shortage.

…We are making good progress here too!

#Ventilators, and Oxygen support equipment:

We currently need over 50 000 of various types of this equipment.

I’m confident!

My approach to solving this “Supply Chain” problem:

My first task was to read up to get understanding of what was required – then speak to experts.

Next task:

-Mobilize African experts.

-Mobilize international support, even governments.

-Mobilize the African private sector.

Done!

I have built a team of experts and volunteers now, who really understand these issues. Many, like me, are also in DiasporaNation. They have joined to help HomeNations.

Action:

I’m confident that we can unblock the The Supply Chain:

-Give African countries immediate access to what they want;

-Ensure that prices are fair;

-Ensure they can be delivered quickly and efficiently.

We have began to build a formidable alliance of African and global partners, including funders, and suppliers.

The next two weeks will be crucial. There is much resistance, even against me personally. I will not be distracted because I understand where it comes from.

#You will soon know exactly what we are able to secure:

Since I believe in transparency, I will be issuing a progress report to the African governments, and the general public will also be able to see exactly what we have obtained through a website that we will launch in the first week of June.

Please continue to support us, even in your prayers.

Strive Masiyiwa

Read more about businessman and entrepreneur Strive Masiyiwa’s work in combating COVID-19 on https://www.facebook.com/strivemasiyiwa/

ENDS/

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Zimbabwe To Get 1 000 ‘oxygen helmets’ as Masiyiwa Pushes To Help

Pan-African businessman Strive Masiyiwa has ordered 5 000 oxygen ventilators to help in the treatment of COVID-19 patients, saying he plans to ship batches of 1 000 ventilators each to Zimbabwe, Sudan and Eritrea.

Masiyiwa wrote:

I have ordered 5 000 of these Oxygen Ventilators!

A few weeks ago someone sent me this news clip:

http://video.foxnews.com/v/6146589876001/

I immediately asked my team to investigate. This led us to our friends at Virgin Galactic (a Space agency company that makes space craft to take people into space).

These space engineers developed this design as their own contribution to fighting C-19!

We managed to get some samples sent to us in South Africa. We gave them to some medical specialists to try out. They loved them!

Our own engineers studied the designs, and working with Virgin engineers, found someone to help us manufacture them.


I’m not going to make a single cent on this. I’m giving them away, including sending 1 000 each to Zimbabwe, Sudan and Eritrea.

This is just one of my initiatives. Others are coming!

Remember what I said before:
You must care enough to want to help, that is when God will want to use you!

Last week I saw on
Al Jazeera a clip about a project in Senegal. Within 2 hours I had
traced the guy and spoken to him directly.

He is now going to manufacture for the rest of Africa.

(To learn more about Strive Masiyiwa’s work on fighting the COVID-19 pandemic in Africa, visit www.facebook.com/strivemasiyiwa/)

END/

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Misa Raises Concerns Over Cyber Bill.

The advent of the Internet and related technological developments have been celebrated for providing platforms for widespread and ‘unrestricted’ exercise of freedom of expression and access to information rights and conducting of transactions online among other aspects.

Indeed, Africa in general, and in Zimbabwe in particular, has witnessed growth in internet penetration.

With the COVID-19 pandemic and implementation of national lockdowns, businesses, education and day to day work in general, is generally now being conducted online thus indicating the importance of digital platforms and tools.

These developments should thus be an awakening for Zimbabwe to have in place a democratic legal framework to regulate online activity. This comes at a time when the continued existence of colonial and unconstitutional laws and flawed democratic practices continue to hinder the enjoyment of digital rights.

MISA Zimbabwe, therefore, notes the long-awaited gazetting of the Cybersecurity and Data Protection Bill whose objective is to increase cybersecurity in order to build confidence and trust in the secure use of information and communication technologies by data controllers, their representatives and data subjects.

In February 2019, following the approval for the repeal of AIPPA by Cabinet, the Data Protection Bill was one of the Bills that was proposed to address data protection and privacy issues in alignment with the Constitution. The gazetted Bill sets out to merge the two aspects: being cybersecurity and data protection.

Shortly before the ouster of former President Robert Mugabe, a Ministry of Cybersecurity, Threat Detection and Mitigation, was set up. Subsequent to reshuffles in government, this ministry morphed into a department under the existing Ministry of Information Communication Technologies.

It is therefore poignant to note that, and according to the then Presidential spokesperson at the material time, the ministry had been established to catch “mischievous rats” that abused social media.

More recently in March 2020, Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) Commander, Lieutenant-General Edzai Chimonyo, addressing senior military commissioned officers at the Zimbabwe Military Academy in Gweru, highlighted that the military would soon start snooping into private communications between private citizens to “guard against subversion,” as social media has become a threat to national security.

MISA Zimbabwe therefore hopes that the crafting and enforcement of this legislation will not be blinkered or narrowed to entirely prioritise the protection of ‘national interests’ and the prevention of ‘social media abuse’ at the expense of digital security and protection of the privacy of internet users in Zimbabwe.

Analysis of the Bill
To begin with, Section 5 and 7 of the Bill seek to establish the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ), as the Cybersecurity Centre and Data Protection Authority, respectively. This essentially gives POTRAZ the roles of potentially three bodies, being the regulator of the telecommunications industry, the cybersecurity centre and the data protection authority.

As rightly laid out in the Bill, POTRAZ is created in terms of the Postal and Telecommunications Act [Chapter 12:05] and likewise its roles should be limited to those laid out in [Chapter 12:05]. It is inappropriate to also allocate the functions of the Cybersecurity Centre and Data Protection Authority in their entirety to POTRAZ. There is no justifiable basis to promote such monopoly by POTRAZ as this frowns upon the basic principles of efficiency, before even delving into the nitty-gritties of the independence of this body.

It is MISA Zimbabwe’s submission that a separate and independent body be set up to handle all cybersecurity issues, comprising stakeholders who advocate for internet freedom and protection of digital rights.

The Bill makes provision for the processing of data, which includes the organization and alterations among others. More recently, the Finance Minister, Mthuli Ncube, at a post-cabinet briefing on the economic relief for Covid-19, said government had used ‘a sophisticated algorithm’ which used bank accounts and also relied on mobile numbers to access the locations of individuals.

In this regard, there was need to notify the data subjects prior to the collection of this information as well as clear information on how the data was processed.

Meanwhile, the processing of sensitive information, genetic data, biometric data and health data is prohibited under this Bill, except in specified circumstances which include where the processing is necessary to comply with national security laws and also for the prevention of imminent danger or the mitigation of a specific criminal offence.

It should be noted that Zimbabwe has a history of surveillance through its laws that seek to promote national security like the Official Secrets Act and the Interceptions of Communications Act. These laws are not aligned to the Constitution and have provisions that continue to violate the exercise of rights.

There is, therefore, need to ensure that all national security laws are reviewed in line with the human rights framework in the Constitution. In circumstances where information relates to national security, more often than not, there is no disclosure of sufficient information under the auspices of national interests.

This poses the danger of such provisions being abused and exposing citizens to over surveillance by government and state security agents, thus, violating their right to privacy.

In the event of any security breach, the Bill provides in Section 19, that the data controller shall notify the Authority, without any undue delay of any security breach affecting data that he or she processes. It is imperative that the law should provide a specific timeline under which the security breach shall be communicated rather than leaving the provision open to interpretation on what entails undue delay.

In addition, the Bill provides an obligation to data controllers, except for those in specified circumstances to notify the Data Protection Authority prior to any wholly or partly automated operation or set of operations intended to serve a single purpose or several related purposes.

The notification is not required where the data controller has appointed a data protection officer. It is also important for the law to make it obligatory for every data controller to appoint a data protection officer. A data protection officer in terms of the Bill, refers to any individual appointed by the data controller and is charged with ensuring, in an independent manner, compliance with the obligations provided for in this Bill.

However, the question that therefore arises is who polices the data protection officer and ensures that they are independent and exercise due diligence?

The Bill also amends the provisions in Sections 163-166 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act, which speaks on offences relating to computer systems, computer data, data storage mediums, data codes and devices.

However, it is commendable that the law seeks to put in place provisions relating to hacking, unlawful interference and interception of data and computer systems. By nature, these crimes are usually premeditated (planned in advance) and threaten the online security of Internet users.

It is therefore important to question whether or not, the prosecuting authorities will have the know-how and the technical capacity to prosecute such offences. It should also be noted that the Internet has created a global village and such hacking or unlawful interferences can be perpetrated by persons outside Zimbabwe and thus outside the jurisdiction of our law enforcement authorities.

The provisions on offences relating to electronic communications and materials need to be highlighted as well. It has been noted that online spaces have become unsafe due to instances of brigading e.g. Varakashi versus Nerrorists, cyberbullying and harassment, revenge and child pornography, the production of racist and xenophobic material among other incidences.

It is therefore commendable that the law takes note of these developments and seeks through the proposed law to regulate them.

There are, however, other provisions that have the potential to infringe on the exercise of media freedom, freedom of expression and access to information.

Section 164 states:

“Any person who unlawfully by means of a computer or information system makes available, transmits, broadcasts or distributes a data message to any person, group of persons or to the public with intend to incite such persons to commit acts of violence against any person or persons or to cause damage to any property shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding level ten or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding five years or to both such fine and such imprisonment.”

Provisions such as these are at risk of being relied on to inhibit constructive criticism which is important for promoting transparency and accountability especially from the government.

There is therefore a danger that such provisions will be used as political tools and mechanisms by the state to prevent the expression of dissenting opinions. This will potentially stifle citizen engagement and open debate, both of which are necessary elements to promote democracy.

Regarding the prohibition of cyberbullying and harassment in Section 164B, it should be noted that the proposed law criminalises not only the generation but also the communication of such offensive messages from ‘any electronic medium accessible by any person’ which in essence also includes social media.

Section 164C of the Bill which also criminalises the use of a computer or information system to avail, broadcast, distribute data knowing it to be false and intending to cause psychological or economic harm to someone, also seems to be targeted against the spread of false information on social media.

In the prosecution of this offence, the law needs to be clear on who the arbiter of truth will be. It will also need to be proven that the perpetrator knew that the information was false and also that he or she had an intention to cause harm.

Assumptions should not be made of the fact that the accused person had knowledge of the falsity of the statement. This is particularly taking note of the magnitude of the use of the Internet, which can make it difficult to determine the origin and authenticity of a message. This means that individuals will receive messages voluntarily or involuntarily.

And, with the rise of citizen journalism through the use of the Internet, these provisions have the potential of implicating thousands of ordinary citizens who would have ‘received’ and communicated such messages.

MISA Zimbabwe therefore advocates for clear procedures and elements to establish intention to commit the offences so as to ensure that a balance will be struck between regulation of the Internet space and exercise of fundamental rights.

MISA Zimbabwe therefore calls for the equal prioritisation and balancing of the functions of the Cybersecurity Centre and Data Protection Authority to ensure that significance is not placed only on cybersecurity while data protection, privacy and the interrelated fundamental rights are neglected. The conflation of these three institutions poses a dual crisis, with POTRAZ, on one hand, becoming the surveillance arm of the state while also having access to the large volumes of data collected by the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) and Internet Service Providers (ISPs). This therefore compromises data protection and the right to privacy.

It is therefore important to ensure that the proposed law is in conformity with the Constitution and international legal frameworks such as the African Declaration on Internet Rights and Freedoms.

Democratic law-making processes place high significance and consideration on the views of key stakeholders and the general public.

MISA Zimbabwe therefore hopes that the law-making authorities will be open to submissions and suggestions that can refine this law in line with international policy guidelines on cybersecurity and data protection

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New Media Accreditation In Six Categories.

The Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) has put in place new media accreditation categories increasing the number to six from the previous two considering concerns of the Media industry.

Over the past years press cards had become an instrument of attending events and gave birth to ghost writers and so forth.

This move is meant do away with the abuse of press cards , Journalism profession and tanishing ZMCs image.

The new categorisation will therefore deal with abuse where everyone in possession of an accreditation card would be entitled as a reporter and had access to certain events and functions.

In a letter addressed to the Zimbabwe Republic Policy ZMC said , ” in the past the commission used to issue only two types of accreditation cards that is, one for local journalists and the other for foreign journalists.’

” Taking the concerns of the industry into consideration and the rapid growth of the digital media, the Commission has decided to issue separate accreditation cards for categories of media practitioners.”

“The new six categories include Journalists working for mainstream media registered or licenced by the ZMC and the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) respectively; Foreign media personnel cleared by the Government through the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services;Online media practitioners running online news channels;Content producers who produce various media products for online distribution; Photographers; and Media practitioners in the film sector.”

However this move has been received with mixed opions and its impact towards the profession.

On a twitter post Zimbabwe Online Content Creators (ZOCC) expressed great concerns on the categorisation drawing a line between online and mainstream media which might not work in the favour of online content creators.

” we are greatly concerned about the delibarate move to separate online content creators from mainstream journalists while they also publish online we fear this maybe used to disadvantage us.”

The media industry has been on transition were quite a number of online content creators emerged giving diversified dissemination of news and information in the country.

Separating the two might create a scenario were holders of certain press categories are prioritized more than the other.

” We are in the digital era of journalism ,where one can be a photographer , content producer, print journalist and so forth most journalists have turned be versatile and adapt to the changes separating like that can bring confusion and hinderance to conduct our day to day operations,” said a certain journalist.

ZMC has however not made it clear on wether one should possess more than one press card if they fit in the different categories.

Commenting on the move Young Journalist Association (YOJA) president ,Mlondolozi Ndlovu said ,”The new accreditation method can weed our ghost writers and pseudo journalists who have been hiding behind the tag freelance journalists. “

“. With the evolving nature of journalism and the rise of fake news it is good that journalists are associated with particular newsrooms or online sites. “

He added that , however, we urge the authorities not to be harsh on content producers and online media houses because they are the new normal in the digital era.

Meanwhile accreditation is to commence on the 26th of May.

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NetOne Officials Freed on Bail.

NetOne executives and board member who were incarcerated on allegations of abuse of office have today been set free by magistrate L Ncube on $3000 RTGS bail.

The accused are suspended CEO Lazarus Muchenje, suspended NetOne board member Paradzai Chakona,Chief Technology Officer Darlington Gutu , Suspended Acting chief finance officer Tinashe Severa, Suspended acting legal head Tanyaradzwa Chingombe , Spencer Manguwa the head innovation and VAS, Tawanda Sibanda (manager; interconnection and roaming) and Shamaine Kadenhe suspended graduate trainee legal

Their legal counsel of 7, led by Innocent Chingarande from Titan Law and the A Mugiya from Mugiya and Associates argued against denial of bail stating that the candidates were not facing any serious crimes, are not flight risk and inisisted that the allegations lacked strong base to deny them any bail.

The state however violently opposed their submissions stating that the candidates were flight risk, had a propensity to threaten witnesses and are jointly facing a serious crime, that they may have connived.

The magistrate however ruled in favor of the accused and granted them bail at $3 000 RTGS and instructed that they report to their nearest police station, submit travel documents and warned against interfering with any witness.

The full charge sheet read

more details coming…..

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ICT Minister’s Remarks On The World Information And Society Day


Fellow Zimbabweans, Ladies and Gentlemen;
Today, (17 MAY 2020) we celebrate the World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD) whose theme is “Connect 2030: ICTs for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) . I salute you with a deep sense of honour and hope as this is happening at a time when the world is grappling with the Covid 19 pandemic.

In these trying times, many lives have been lost, businesses disrupted with all kinds of social restrictions being imposed. Ladies and Gentlemen, it would be remiss of the global community, if the role of ICTs in the ongoing fight against COVID- 19 were to go without due acknowledgement and recognition. With ICTs, we have seen business continuity in particular, for the services sector, where physical presence is not necessary such as banking and commerce and even education, which have gone online. E- Meetings, including international ones are happening online as evidenced by Heads of States who are having Virtual Summits on ICT platforms. Families and friends are able to keep in touch while maintaining the tenets of a global lockdown; responders are enabled in their indispensable, life-saving work. Thanks to ICTs!

We are vesting our confidence in the power of ICTs as part of our arsenal to win the war against the pandemic. Indeed, ICTs are the magic wand that will help nations address and contain the spread of the virus.

Our contribution to fighting the pandemic has seen us mobilising operators in the setting up of a call centre and providing a toll free number 2019 for any COVID-19 related emergencies. Furthermore, we have assigned operators with additional 3G and LTE spectrum for free, up to December 2020 to enable them to increase capacity of their data offering. This goes to show how seriously we are leveraging the use of ICTs to fight the pandemic, and we believe that in the fullness of time, we will do more.

Ladies and gentlemen, I find solace in that this year`s theme reiterates the importance of ICTs in sustaining our lives and development in general. I cherish the opportunity presented by this occasion for me to reflect on the importance of universal connectivity to broadband and the progress made thus far towards ensuring universal broadband connectivity. More importantly we need to reflect on how we have lined up our resources, in particular ICTs, in the enablement, assembly and mechanisms for the achievement of SDGs.
Accordingly, we will continue exerting our efforts towards this vision through fostering an enabling environment for the promotion of inclusive, access and the development of relevant, people-centric ICT services. Our strongest desire is to see the Zimbabwean society utilising ICTs for quality livelihoods; highly assured public safety; increased productivity in agriculture, and manufacturing; efficient delivery of government and commercial services; health and education as well as other public utilities such as transport and electricity across the country.

To this end, we have registered significant progress in terms of access to ICTs as evidenced by the extent of network population coverage, by 2G,3G and LTE networks currently standing at 93.4%, 83.9% and 35% respectively. Strides have also been made in the adoption and use of ICTs as evidenced by the growth in the penetration rates over the past decade, whereby the mobile penetration rate increased from 50.4% in 2010, to 90.6% in 2020; the internet penetration rate has also grown exponentially from just 11% in 2010 to the current internet penetration rate of 60.6%.

Additionally, we have established the Innovation Drive which is aimed at supporting young innovators in cultivating their ideas, deployment of technical solutions and equipping the youth with the necessary skills and resources that will enable them to create employment not only for themselves but for others as well. Resultantly, we successfully hosted the inaugural Hackathon In February 2020. We have also conducted extensive Consumer education and awareness programs across the country in order to sensitise users of Postal and Telecommunication services on their rights and responsibilities, as well as appreciating the challenges they face and resolving them.

Indeed, all our efforts are guided by the ITU’s vision to connect the unconnected through prioritising universal access, harmonizing efforts to connect everyone to the global digital economy and guaranteeing that connected life is harmless and reliable.

My fellow countrymen, it is against this background that I urge everyone – no matter where you are – no matter your position in life, no matter your age, gender or creed – to embrace and enjoy the tremendous benefits of ICTs. ICTs are the defining factor between enlightened progressive societies and benighted backward societies, more so as we approach the Fourth Industrial Revolution. So you are better off joining the bandwagon than being left behind!

In conclusion, Ladies and Gentlemen; I would like to encourage all stakeholders; be they Regulators, Operators, Academia, Consumers and Policy-Makers in all sectors of Government, to genuinely and extensively collaborate to foster the uptake of ICTs. This will assist us in fighting Covid-19 or any other calamity that may come after. Together we will achieve!
I leave you with the following African Proverb by Chinelo Orkparanta: “Between true friends even water drunk together is sweet” – be part of the “Connect 2030’’ conversation.

KEEP SAFE, WASH YOUR HANDS, and WEAR YOUR MASK AND STAY CONNECTED

I THANK YOU ALL.

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Breaking: NetOne CEO, Board Member and 6 Managers Arrested

NetOne CEO Mr Lazarus Muchenje, Board Member Paradzai Chakona and 6 other managers have been arrested and currently detained at Avondale police station, TechnoMag can exclusively reveal.

When TechnoMag visited the police station this afternoon, we managed to speak with the Board Chairman, CEO and Tawanda Sibanda, who were at Avondale Police station While the other 5 executives were detained at different police stations.

The other senior management members are Tinashe Severa, Darlington Gutu, Tanyaradzwa Chingombe and Spencer Manguwo.

The three were upbeat and in high spirits, stating that they have been arrested on the same allegations that have been dropped by the police, insisting that the charges were baseless and mere move to break them down as these charges were not even in any audit report.

“We have been jointly charged under allegations of conniving and contravening the law on issues of NetOne international traffic calls, authorizing Mr Muchenje’s rented house and hiring of service car when his broke down” said one of the arrested .

When TechnoMag tried to get the actual charge sheet from the police post, we were told that there were not accessible as the police were only served with 242 forms for detention, while the charge sheet was still with Zimbabwe Anti Corruption Commission officers.

The six will spend the night in police custody as they await to appear before the courts tomorrow for bail application.

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#MondayBlues: RBZ Calls Ecocash A Ponzi Scheme, Really?

The Reserve Bank Of Zimbabwe has responded to Ecocash urgent application with a very interesting twist, name calling it a Ponzi scheme as it alleges that Ecocash is not settling transactions in time, creating fake virtual currency.

If the  Reserve Bank was serious about this statement, we must have heard them speaking if cancelling licences from illegal player, not name calling a service provider, unless ofcourse they know the there is no basis. 

Ecocash had filed an urgent high court hearing against suspension of their mobile money agents from conducting financial transactions and restore full functionality.


This is a strong allegation and should it be proven , it has strong implications, however it goes without saying it boggles the mind who may have been funding such accounts with a vague “suspense account” to only settle days later.


The RBZ alleges :


“What the general public does not know is what happens in the interim. The funds that have not been credited to the vendor or the recipient are then available for trading on the Ecocash Platform in the foreign currency market. In effect, the delays allow a certain person, who was the subject matter of an investigation, to buy and sell foreign currency in the intervening period.”


Mangudya said investigations have established that there are some Ecocash agents who have an overdraft on their Ecocash accounts in excess of $39 million. This begs the question: “How can an entity or individual have an overdraft on an electronic payment platform such as Ecocash?”


This is a very interesting question asked by the central bank, but its rather selfish in its nature. The Reserve bank can not want to investigate a “technical fault” now but when millions complained over disappearing balances it never called the system a Ponzi scheme.


Why are they now ruling out chances that this could have been a simple issue of system challenges delaying to settle, the same way they have accepted the initial narrative when millions were saying their balances were not correctly reflecting.


The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe recently closed 100 ecocash accounts for allegedly transacting not over the stipulated $100 000, driving the total monthy transactions to $75 million.


According to the law, its not illegal to transact up to the figure, the amounts of the transactions and the value can be curious but this does not make it illegal.


What is more interesting and rather illegal is the fact that Ecocash is said to be delaying to settle accounts of currency in circulation then settles later later days.


This could be tantamount to creating own currency.


Two questions.
Who are the beneficiaries of these funds, when they receive these funds, under what pretext are they receiving and who is the sender, claiming what source ?


But the fact that this money was or is already in the system must have been the real issue. How did we end up with $39 million being illegally circulated, if at all it was illegal, how was this money initially pumped into the Ecocash system because there is no currency without source.


when all is still said and done, t goes to that one problem that the reserve Bank is reluctant to fix.


Zimbabwe has a liquidity crisis, crated partly by the same Reserve bank when it looted real bank balances and introduced its own virtual currency called bond notes, when Zimbabweans had deposited USD into their accounts, they withdrew another currency which was purportedly backed by the Afreximbank.


We are yet to hear what really happened with the backing value, did they dishonor this since the bond notes were never announced not to have a backing anymore but were simply devalued.


The biggest problem however is how we rate the USD against this same surrogate currency. The RBZ has continued pegging this currency at lower rates, a sensible move to preserve debts value for corporate that borrowed in USD but still an impossible offer to anyone who wants to trade.


The problem always haunts us, why do we have a buying rate for the USD and yet business does not have a buying market of the same product?
This is the elephant in the room that the reserve bank must be tackling, not Ecocash.


Ecocash is not a currency but a medium to exchange payments, while most Zimbabweans have taken this same medium to be the currency itself, like USD is no longer a currency, but a form to preserve value when the local economy continues n a free fall.

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Ecocash Challenges RBZ Suspension

The Reserve Bank Of Zimbabwe on Monday suspended and froze mobile transactions on EcoCash accounts and NetOne One Money accounts of agents with a monthly transactional threshold of $100 000 after transactions totaling $75 million were recorded during the covid period.

EcoCash has challenged the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) through the High Court to stop suspending mobile money agents conducting financial transactions and restore full functionality to those affected.

The Chief Executive Officer of EcoCash’s parent, Cassava Smartech, Mr Eddie Chibi, argued in his affadavit that EcoCash has 11 million subscribers and benefits people from all parts of the country.

“Because of the legality of the suspension is challenged, a delay in dealing with the matter will result in prejudice not only to the applicant but also ordinary members of the public,” said Mr Chibi.

Mr Chibi further argued that EcoCash agents were not heard before the directive was issued in breach of provisions of the Administrative Justice  Act.

The Act requires that an administrative authority acts lawfully, reasonably and in a fair manner, which does not violate the rights of those affected by the decision.

The central bank strongly suspects that these subscribers are driving foreign currency rates and wants to ensure that people or businesses with the agent lines are bona fide entities and they have to prove the source of their funds.

The FIU, which tracks financial transactions in this country, wants mobile operators to enhance their Know Your Customer framework after establishing that there is weak enforcement of this rule given the amount of suspicious transactions.

In an urgent chamber application filed at the High Court on Wednesday, EcoCash, represented by Mtetwa and Nyambirai law firm, wants an interdict prohibiting the enforcement of the RBZ’s directive issued on Monday.