Moyo defies Mugabe, slams mobile data tariffs hike

Charles Mabhena

The Minister of Higher Education Jonathan Moyo has slammed the recent hiking of fees charged on mobile data usage, this seems a fix from his boss President Robert Mugabe who recently chided him for taking party matters to the social media.

Mugabe gave Moyo a stern warning to desist from using the social platform to send sensitive issues to the public.

However, Moyo as a mischievous son disobeyed his ‘father’s orders and went on with the condemned acts, but the father being a wise old man had other ways to deal with it.

Moyo says the hikes will set bad precedence and will pose a serious risk to the viability of mobile companies, while their clients will be disadvantaged.

Following the hiking of the floor charges at nearly 400 percent by the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ), mobile operator companies have with immediate effect increased their tariffs much to the disgruntlement of citizens.

Econet Wireless had the following internet rates; 50 cents for 5 megabytes, $1 for 10mb, $3 for 50, $5 for 125mb, $10 for 300mb, $20 for 750mb, $35 for 1.5 Gb, and $50 for 2.5Gb.

For social media, whatsapp and facebook, it is charging 50 cents for 10 mb, $1 for 30mb, $2.50 for 80mb, $5 for 170 mb, $7.50 for 300, $10 for 450mb, and $12 for 600mb.

The other networks have also revised data tariffs upwards, Telecel another mobile company has removed overnight bundles before reducing daily data bundles.

The move has been heavily criticised as Mugabe’s attempt to limit mobile data usage at the time the country is less than a year away from the 2018 national polls.

Most people responded angrily on the move and social media are buzzing with comments from Zimbabweans.

In response to a question by his follower, on the effects of the tariffs on the STEM programme, Jonathan (Mr Twitter) Moyo said the move is retrogressive and would pose a challenge to the two parties (operators and clients).

“Service providers and users face a real risk and possibility of being priced out of business,” he wrote in response.

For Moyo, the move is a great blow as would also mean that his reach-out is reduced. Moyo has resorted to social media after having been blocked out of the mainstream media, which now is under the control of his rivals in the faction ridden ZANU PF.