#MondayBlues: Our Expectations From The New NetOne Board.

To whom much is given, much is expected! 

After weeks of advocacy towards making sure that sanity prevails at NetOne and the government as the largest stakeholder abides to basic corporate governance and restores the boards,we are excited that the Hon Minister Of ICT and Cyber Security  Kazembe Kazembe has got one board running.

Of course he still has a lot to go, Potraz, Zimpost, TelOne and Telecel still have boards that needs a fix, and these are critical in authorizing top decisions and moving the company forward. Now Lets look back into NetOne,the only company that has a functional board.

To the newly appointed NetOne board, welcome aboard! Zimbabweans at large have huge expectations and we hope they will be worth their salt.

According to the NetOne Board charter,  4.11, the role of the board is to  assume ultimate accountability and responsibility for the performance and affairs of the Company and shall in so doing effectively represent and promote the legitimate interests of the Company and its shareholder(s). The Board, at all times, shall retain full and effective control over the Company and shall direct and supervise the business and affairs of the Company. 

The board being the focal point and custodian of corporate governance, Zimbabweans are looking for a fresh breath of air and professionalism that will restore the asset to full profitability and work towards regaining market share to give dividends to the shareholder.  

NetOne has gone through a lot in the past months, leading to the expiry and immediate termination of the past board, drama unfolding when the CEO, Lazarus Muchenje  fired 9 executives and the  board suspended him before reinstating the executives.

As if this was not enough, NetOne was only coming from another season where the same board mysteriously raised criminal charges against Kangai, they could not substantiate in court,  he was suspended and fired, just the same route they wanted to repeat on Muchenje, good riddance there were shown the exit door. 

The matter of the suspended CEO, Mr lazarus Muchenje can not be allowed to become water under the bridge. The board has to be competent enough to solve the matter and bring closure to it. Whether they fire him or hire him, the matter needs closure and NetOne must be allowed to reach full potential.

According to the NetOne Charter, the board shall appoint the Chief Executive Officer (“CEO”) and set the terms of his/her employment; this is their duty and hopefully they will be immediately seized with the matter

While in the previous board we noticed little to no difference between the board and the executive, hopefully the new board will be professional to draw the clear lines.

The charter clearly states that the offices of the Chairperson of the Board and the CEO shall be separate. There shall at all times be a clearly defined division of responsibilities in offices to ensure a balance of authority and power. 

The newly appointed board is expected to acquire a working knowledge and understanding of the Company’s business and the laws, regulations and customs that govern the activities of NetOne,  Keep abreast of changes and trends in NetOne’s business and the economic,  political,social and legal climate in general. 

According to section 4. 28. Board members shall have unrestricted access to all Company information, records, documents and property.  Where The Company Secretary shall assist the Board or any member thereof in providing any information or document that may be required.

Which we would like to think at this point, they have already acquired enough information and knowledge of the organization they are expected to stir.

The new board shall be responsible for ensuring that succession plans are in place for the Board as a whole, the Chairperson, CEO,Chief Financial Officer, Non- Executive Directors, Board Committee members,Executive Management and key posts (as determined by the Board from time to time) in the Company.

Hopefully this will bring closure to the matter of the fired 9 executives. Section 12.6.2. states documents requesting approval of: Minutes Of previous meetings; and  12.12. Minutes of the meetings shall be taken by the Company Secretary and shall be circulated to the Board within 2 weeks of the relevant Board meeting. The minutes shall record the proceedings and decisions taken, the details of which shall remain confidential.  

NetOne will never move on by one man’s effort, the team has been together for a time and lots of mistakes have been made and lessons must be  drawn,  its time difference are buried and the executive come together for a collective purpose to drive the asset towards real profitability.

The market has been monopolized by Econet Wireless while NetOne must take advantage of the slow death of Telecel Zimbabwe, Lest it will never rise should Telecel be capitalized in the nick of time, bearing in mind it was once  the fastest growing network at some point.

In addition, the Board has a responsibility to the broader stakeholders which include, inter alia, the present and potential beneficiaries of NetOne, retailers, tenants, clients, suppliers, lenders, employees and the wider community in Zimbabwe  to achieve continuing prosperity for the Company.  

The media has great interest as the fourth estate, and hopefully NetOne will rise again after serious capitalization it received, more energy now needs to be put towards productivity and realization of the long term strategy the team has been working on.

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