When Pastor Jerry Barkus, left our offices, invigorated I turned my attention, to our next move:
Due to a sad family tragedy Antony Eastwood, had been forced to retire as our lead counsel. A young Christian lawyer, at the company called TawandaNyambirai, was now leading our team. Over the years, I have had the privilege to work with great lawyers from all around the world; but I say this with all humility, TawandaNyambirai has one of the finest legal minds, I have ever met. He proposed that we should avoid going back to the Constitutional Court, but instead go to a lower court (the High Court) and seek a “judicial review”, of the Minister’s decision, since it was a public tender. We had to act very quickly; otherwise our matter would not be accepted, as “urgent” by the courts.
We also needed evidence to show that there had been bias against Econet; we did not have any evidence whatsoever. To get this evidence Tawanda came up with a strategy whereby all the documents used by the adjudicating committee, that advised the Minister had to be “ceased and sealed” by a court order. This had to be done before anyone was ordered to destroy them. Tawanda and his team made a special application to the court, and it was granted, they then rushed (quite literally), with a Sherif of the Court, to the place where the committee had been holding meetings, and ceased all the documents that had been left in the room! It was audacious, and caught everyone by surprise. It all happened in just one day, and less than 48 hours, after the license award to our competitor.
The chairman of the Technical Committee, as it was called, kept a pile of documents, in a locked drawer next to where he sat. Amongst the documents, were found correspondences he had been receiving, by fax, from someone in South Africa, directing him on how to manipulate the results of the tender… we would later present this all in court, and use it to overturn the recommendation of that committee. Meanwhile I had to deal with a very furious Minister, who could not believe what had happened! She ordered my immediate arrest.
I arrived at my office the following morning, knowing that I was due to be picked up by the police. I did not try to run away and I did not try to lobby anyone. Our sources said they were preparing a charge sheet against me to ensure I got a lengthy jail sentence.
“Fear not. I am with you!”
The call from the office of the Vice President of the country, Joshua Nkomo, came in the afternoon. It came completely out of the blue.
To be continued….
Strive Masiyiwa is the founder and Executive Chairman of the Econet Group. He serves on several international boards including Unilever, and the Global Advisory boards of the Council on Foreign Relations and Stanford University. A board member of the Rockefeller Foundation for 15 years, he also serves as Chairman of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). He is a co-founder of the Carbon War Room, Pathways for Prosperity, and the Global Business Coalition on Education. He and his wife, Tsitsi, co-founded the Higherlife Foundation and are signators of the Giving Pledge.View all posts by Strive Masiyiwa