As soon as the Court ruled, I moved quickly to bring in equipment. And organise the launch of the network. Within two weeks of the ruling, I had secured a shipment of a small system, for just 5000 customers, from Ericsson’s the giant Swedish company.
It was 31st January 1996, 5 weeks after the decision of the court to remove the monopoly of PTC.
The old man, waiting to see me, that evening, was a legend. His name was Gary Magadzire, and he was head of one of the most powerful farmer’s organisations in the land. He had asked to see me alone, and I could see from his face that he had something very grave to tell me. Having congratulated me on the court victory, he then went on to tell me, that a friend of mine, had set up a rival consortium, and was working behind the scenes, in high government circles to, as he put it, “hijack your project.”
He went on to give me in the most elaborate detail, how the conspiracy against me had all been put together. He also told me who was involved and all their plans.
“He has managed to lie to some very powerful people, that you are working for a foreign government, hostile to this country, and that you should be stopped at all costs, and the project given to more loyal citizens. Emergency draft legislation has been prepared, which will stop what you are doing, and reverse, this decision of the court. Not everyone is in agreement with this. You must not be intimidated; I know you will prevail, because you believe in God.”
He told me he was indignant that people could create such an elaborate “conspiracy of lies, because of greed.
“They want you declared an enemy of the state, and to have you imprisoned.”
He was so distressed by it, that I found myself comforting him, even though I was the one under threat.
“Thank you, Mukoma Gary.”
Once again, I marvelled at how God works… This man was not my relative or even close friend. To this day, I do not know how he had obtained all the information, that he gave me, including detailed intelligence reports.
Time and space constrains me to mention, so many others, including people sent to arrest me, who would forewarn me, and ask me to disappear for a few days. God knows them all…..
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