Boardroom wars erupt as Telecel suspends board director


Telecel Zimbabwe, which is majority-owned by the government of Zimbabwe, has suspended Francis Mawindi, former chief executive officer, citing confidentiality breaches.

The company's chairman James Makamba confirmed the development and issued a statement which reads: "The Telecel Zimbabwe board of directors wishes to inform stakeholders that a resolution has been passed for the suspension of Mr Francis Mawindi from holding office of Telecel Zimbabwe board director effective 6th June 2019."

"This is following Francis Mawindi's serious breach of common law fiduciary duty of confidentiality and to act in the best interests of the company through communicating and misrepresenting confidential company information," explained Makamba.

However, the suspension still has to be passed as a resolution by shareholders, including a consortium of local entrepreneurs and the government.

Mawindi was not immediately available for comment.

Local media reports suggest the suspension is linked to Mawindi's call for the company's current chief executive officer Angeline Vere to be fired for poor performance.

The letter, quoted extensively in local media, reads in part: "The CEO ... has reneged on her responsibilities to inform the board of critical and important resolutions which have a material impact on the financial position of the company."

This, according to the letter, includes "re-authorisation of annual service contracts with key vendors and awarding salary increases of 20% to employees" without full board authorisation.

One industry insider, speaking on condition of anonymity, said, "The minority shareholders which have control of management are always fighting and this has been so for quite some time. There is a battle for the control of the company and this is frustrating strategy formulation and implementation. At the end of the day it is the company and its services which are being affected the most."

In 2018, Makamba reportedly resigned from the company, but later refuted this.

In May the same year, the Empowerment Corporation, which holds 40% in the company, booted out Gerald Mlotshwa as a director.

Telecel Zimbabwe has lost 12.3% of its subscriber base in the fourth quarter of 2018 and management has bemoaned a lack of capital for its struggles.