AFRICOM Holdings founding member and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Kwanayi Kashangura, (KK) as he is popularly known has stepped down from the converged communication service provider, effective February 1, 2016, we have learned.
Kashangura, who holds a substantial interest in the business, will not be leaving Africom for good as he will now serve as an Africom non-executive board member.
By Paul Nyakazeya
He revealed to the Financial Gazette last week that it was time for him to step aside from executive functions, and retreat to an oversight role, having been with the company since its formation in 1995.
Although Kashangura claims that he now wants to treat the business as a long-term investment and hence could not be its CEO, shareholder and be on the company’s board at at the same time insiders at Africom allege that he was asked to step down by fellow shareholders after some differences had emerged in the way he was running the business.
Insiders claim that regardless of how he left the company, Kashangura was still going to be entitled to a board seat since he holds a 28 percent stake in the business.
Under normal circumstances, any shareholder with a shareholding of above five percent is entitled to a board seat. This applies to well established companies.
Kashangura declined to be drawn into commenting about the goings-on at Africom.
Africom is the first company in Zimbabwe to challenge all convention by offering converged communication solutions.
With all other telecommunications operators offering traditional products, Africom was the first company to integrate data, voice and video over broadband as well as mobility into a single solution.
“We are, in fact, planning celebrations for reaching 20 years and you have pre-emptied them,” said Kashangura whose 20 years at the helm of Africom have not been without their fair share of drama.He was once ousted from his position as CEO in what was reported to be a boardroom coup in July 2011.
He, however, bounced back to the same position the following year.
The multi-million-dollar telecoms firm was rattled by a bitter shareholder battle that took a nasty twist when two of its former directors — Simba Mangwende and Farai Rwodzi — were hauled before the courts on allegations of spying for foreign countries in October 2011.
They were also accused of flouting Zimbabwe’s telecommunications regulations by installing satellite infrastructure and VoIP equipment without a license to do so. The former charge was dropped, and the two were later acquitted of the latter in March 2012.
Mangwende resigned from the interim CEO position way before the expiry of his tenure (July 2011- December 2011).
In October 2012, Kashangura was re-appointed as group CEO as he announced a “re-energised Africom”.
Problems at Africom began in 2011 when he clashed with key shareholders, with then acting boss Mangwende, filing an interdict to bar Kashangura from interfering with operations at the firm.
Kashangura had become a minority shareholder after opening Africom to institutional investors, including the cash-rich National Social Security Authority (NSSA) and the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed insurance giant, Old Mutual.
His strategy was to access funding from these cash-rich investors to bankroll an aggressive expansion plan, which is now in danger.
Kashangura said no money was invested in the company since 2011.
“Since 2011 there is no other investment that has been injected into the company,”
Source: Financial Gazette