By Toneo T Rutsito
Econet Wireless Zimbabwe`s Ecocash has finally responded to the allegations that it is deliberately refusing to level the playing field amid allegations leveled against it by the Bankers Association of Zimbabwe.
In a Press release they gave us earlier on, It seems the telecommunication giant`s baby has just removed the soft gloves and heading for a show-down it reads:
Econet Wireless executive, Mr Darlington Mandivenga, who is
responsible for the rollout of EcoCash, has dismissed a claim reportedly
made by Bankers Association of Zimbabwe’s immediate past president, Mr
John Mushayavanhu, stating that Econet has denied banks access to its
platform for integration.
Mr Mandivenga said: “That is simply not true. We have agreements with most
of the banks, and we are currently carrying out physical connections with
most of them. We as Econet initiated the process, and we are very keen to
get it completed, but it cannot be rushed because it involves accessing
Mr Mandivenga said Econet expects most banks to have their systems running
by the end of March. “Right now I am expecting three major banks to go
live within 10 days, because we are almost complete.”
The Econet Wireless executive named CABS as the only institution which has
been actively trying to fight the EcoCash service and has tried
unsuccessfully to lobby against it.
“As you know, CABS have been working with ZIMSWITCH to launch a service
called Textacash. Since their own customer base is very small compared to
the Econet subscriber base of 8 million, they want us to open up our
system, so that they can simply spam any of our customers with text
messages. We will never allow that because it would not only violate our
license, it would be total abuse of customers’ privacy.”
Mr Mandivenga named former CABS boss, Mr Kevin Terry, now at Old Mutual,
as the main instigator.
“He wants to create an impression that this is the position of all banks,
but he does not disclose to them that it is his own interest that he is
fighting for. If CABS and Zimswitch want to compete with us, they are free
to do so, but they must build a proper system that reaches the rural
people in Zimbabwe. They have been there for decades, and never did
anything to benefit the masses. This is not about the interests of banks
or cell phone companies, it is about providing services to ordinary
Zimbabweans,” he said.
Mr Mandivenga said that the campaign by Mr Terry had not surprised Econet.
“Our friends in the banking system have told us about his campaigns to try
and preserve the status quo in which less than 3% of our people had access
to the formal financial system, and where thousands of people had to line
up every month for hours just to access their own money, or travel all day
just to find a CABS branch. This is not the future.”
Efforts to contact the CABS Boss Mr Kevin Terry were fruitless on the day, we shall keep you posted as the story unfolds.