Econet gave ZANU-PF millions in 2013 to buy votes, says Mliswa

Charles Mabhena

Former Hurungwe West and now Norton constituency Member of Parliament, Temba Mliswa disclosed that the mobile company Econet paid huge sums of money to the ruling ZANU-PF party.

He divulged that the money amounting to US$30 million, was given to ZANU-PF to buy food handout to win support before the 2013 harmonised elections.

Mliswa, who was addressing a press conference in Harare, said ZANU-PF should not cry foul and saying Econet is suspected to be funding opposition political parties when it also benefitted from the same company.

The Zimbabwean media has been awash with  stories suggesting that the powerful mobile company has been responsible for the data increase with the government owned  weekly paper “ The Sunday Mail “ leading with a  headline “ Econet wades into Political Fray” on 15 January 2017.

The mobile network provider has been recently mired in a data tariff increase scandal in which it is being accused by ZANU-PF led government for hiking data charges.

Econet has since denied that they had agitated for the data charge increase laying the blame to the government regulator Postal and Telecommunication Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ).

Minister of Information, Communications, Technology and Courier Services Supa Mandiwanzira in apparent reference to the data hikes by Econet, said the internet must be accessible- physically and financially, “I share and sympathise with concerns expressed by a multitude of Zimbabwean internet users that the recently effected data prices are unparallel and extortionists,” he said in a press statement.

Mliswa charged that he Supa Mandiwanzira was an extreme extortionist and should  be held accountable for the mobile data increase fiasco.

The Tariffs increased from the 11 of January had effectively raised the cost of internet in Zimbabwe. It also meant that Whatsapp and Facebook bundles, two most popular broadband packages for local mobile networks operators was going to be more expensive.