Hon Shamu, The ICT Minister We Won't Miss

Its been exactly 9 months since the Ministry of ICT Postal and Courier Services lost the man in charge, but if you ask anyone in the sector, things have really been better since the old folk packed up his all from the crucial office.

Unfortunately for Webster Shamu, he is one of the minister we struggle to measure his impact, if any at all he made during his short stint as the minister since appointment.


By Sting
Old age, natural fear of technology and basic lack of understanding of the technology itself dogged the man till his last day in office, and surprisingly, the last week before he was fired, for the first time ever Hon Webster Shamu appeared before the public with a tablet as he read his ICT achievers awards 2015 speech.

The tablet gave him a hard time when it went on power save mode during his usual long speech, his aides had to come to rescue, before he jokingly “fired” one of them in public. A minister is a policy maker, and lack of any policy shift, amendment or pronouncement during his tenure left a lot to be desired.

Shamu let the nation down by ignorantly allowing the government to circumvent him, while they reintroduced a bill which the then young and vibrant Nelson Chamisa had successfully fought for.

The reintroduction of duty on ICTs was nothing but a case of a minister sleeping on it!

I doubt if at all he noticed the change which caused a massive outcry, as most traders pronounced doom against the future of once recorded the fastest growing sector in the world by ITU, a heritage which only the minister was supposed to defend.

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.

Ofcourse 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.

https://youtu.be/qy-hwe7zPv8

I guess this was just but a smart move to protect his image as any further questioning or chit chat would easily expose the minister of his lack of basic understanding of the sector he is supposed to be driving forward.

It is also the role of government to support and endorse private initiatives by locals to drive the sector while Shamu had a series of events he was billed to guest, a no show was now the usual outcome except only the Astro and Gtel launches become the top of the head private events he officiated.

At a certain point and time, a man will need to be judged by his results or even efforts thereof but yours truly find it very difficult as i scrounge the surface to give credit to the ex-minister.
One thing ofcourse, no one could beat him was in making a freestyle long speech, at one Telone event in Chitungwiza, he read a full English speech in deep Shona vernacular, to match up with the audience, this to date noone could take away from Webster Shamu.

He was a populist and propagandist, he could make anyone believe his words no matter the contents (probably the correct definition of a politician), i guess he simply deserved any other ministry which does not demand any technicality.

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11 thoughts on “Hon Shamu, The ICT Minister We Won't Miss

  1. shamhu was full of comedy and he wanted pleasure to much he didnt deserve to be a minister of ICT he was never serious

  2. this monday blues is out f this world, never noticed these things when they were happening,just realising it after reading this article

  3. why didnt you say this whilst he was a minister…..people you never accept good things you always try to find wrong things about people

  4. This is what we call journalism but coming at the wrong time, why writing today, should have written this article during his tenure, it would have made sense then but dicing a man who is long gone is no brain. Journalist are there to inform, educate and guide the nation, shamu was supposed to be blasted when he was still in the office for the betterment of the ICT sector. Because you journalists have been quite about his incompetence ICT ministry is yet to have its own policy, i am disappointed with many journalists. Right now, Supa has been causing confusion in the sector and you are quite, waiting for him to leave office kuti munyore ….

  5. Mr Shamu was a bootlicker, and i am sure he was appointed under that merit, sure he is not to be missed…Cde Shamu enjoy yourself in the terraces

  6. The honorable minister avoided press conference, I guess this was just but a smart move to protect his image as any further questioning or chit chat would easily expose the minister of his lack of basic understanding of the sector he is supposed to be driving forward.

  7. A very clever article , well written . But then then the Russians say , “A fish wrotes from the HEAD” . Im afraid you did not chop that head off. Shamhu is a body and his appointment didnt come from the blues .

  8. You can say that again. But come to think of it, Dzikamai Mavhaire too was a real destroyer of the electricity sector. The unbundling of ZESA was supposed to bring five new companies including the Grid Company and that would allow IPPs to grid tie their power plants without having to sell to an incompetent competitor.

    Mavhaire thought that is that happened, he would have opened up the electricity sector and allowed too much money to circulate outside the state control and that would inspire regime change!

    So, what did we get? Multitudes of “LICENSES” were issued by ZERA, but real investment on the ground…ZERO!

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