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#MondayBlues: Perm Sec Eng Sam Kundishora Retires


Having saved as the first and only  ever  permanent secretary of the ministry of ICT Postal and Courier Services since the inception of the ministry 14 years ago, engineer Sam Kundishora has retired from the post.

The  permanent secretary had also hit the mandatory  age limit for public service, a man who had personally dedicated self to the commitment of the growth of the sector, now replaced by acting  PS  Beullah Chirume.

For him it was never  a swift easy road, but one challenging  and with lots of obstacles  and challenges, for his tenure, he withstood the storms to deliver his mandate to turn around Zimbabwe’s ICT Fortunes.

Having initially served for the first time in 2008 under the GNU government, with then Nelson Chamisa  as the first ICT minister, the ministry recorded global success attracting international attention.

Zimbabwe then had  mobile lines  costing  more than $100 usd and cellphones  out of  reach of  more than 90% of the nation,  it was a privilege  of the wealthy  to own a communication  device.

Mobile networks were  making a killing, cellphones were  simply a tool for the rich and wealthy.

The ministry however  oversaw the decrease of  sim cards from $100usd to only  $5  seeing Zimbabwe  recording a global mobile penetration jump from 7% to  a national rate of 60%, as millions for the first owned a sim card and mobile  cellphone

The ministry  then  pushed  parliament to declare that all ICT  services must  be duty  free as the nation  jumpstarted the  economy, a move which led to the birth of G-tide, the first-ever mobile player to provide cellphones to millions at ridiculously cheap prices, seeing a major craze of  cellphone entry with millions  finally affording a  basic phone to make and receive phone calls

The international community for the first time recorded a major positive  for the country , as Zimbabwe was ranked by International Telecommunication Inion (ITU) as the world’s fastest growing ICT country, with  mobile penetration  soaring above 80%  from a meagre 8%.

It was not the end, a lot  had to be done in terms of connectivity and speed, then Zimbabwe had  only 2G and  a few 3G cellphones,  without WhatsApp and  at the  advent of Facebook and the death of my space and  Yahoo, a global digital revolution was already ongoing.

I remember speaking to the permanent secretary in an interview, he was already foreseeing a  possibility  where Zimbabweans  could have data on their mobile phones, without need to  be connected only at internet cafes or  those using dial up speeds  at various work place.

TelOne ADSL  speed  as  like super fast, CDMA technology, Africom, Powertel Utande and ZOL  were promising us mobility this technology with only some limited  spots around the nation, the government had to avail an enabling environment for licencing more  bandwidth and  freeing the frequency and  allow  better technology.

It was people like Kundishora who said yes we can, lets liberalise the sector and open up to ICT when  the government was  largely skeptical  about the advent of mobilie connectivity and  entry of private palters in the space.

It was never a bed roses to be where we are, with the journey seeing lots of fights, challenges and disappointing phases, scoring successes and  moving mountains.

More in detail coming on the journey h  played as the permanent secretary….



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