Mugabe Is Gone, Is It Time for Strive Masiyiwa to Come Back Home?

Tinashe Nyahasha Avatar
Strive Masiyiwa

There is some belief in some places that Techzim doesn’t like Strive Masiyiwa. Nothing could be further from the truth. Masiyiwa and his business has largely contributed to the existence of the current internet ecosystem in Zimbabwe. Without him I don’t know if the ecosystem would be the way it is, most probably not. His long hard fight with the Zimbabwean government to get a mobile network operator license ensured that there is a private player in this important space and that is a super good thing.

The story that is not told is how Techzim itself came into being. It came after a local weekly newspaper had dismissed Econet’s plans and announcement to roll out 3G. The article said Econet was launching an elitist technology that Zimbabweans could not afford. Of course such a view had to be challenged and Techzim was born. Could we say without Econet (Strive), Techzim would not exist? Maybe.

Strive Masiyiwa is therefore a good story for Zimbabwe. I still stick to my earlier position that he should not be an untouchable. That is a very immature attitude to have towards leadership. To digress a little: I am already seeing the amount of hero worship going on towards Emmerson Mnangagwa and Constantino Chiwenga and it worries. Let us not burden mere men and women with our projected images of them as gods, no one can ever live up to that expectation. Let me get back to this article:

The Government Should Make the First Move

The Zimbabwean government should state clearly and sincerely that Masiyiwa is welcome back to the land of his birth. Not just him but every Zimbabwean who so wishes to come back. I am not asking for them to promise recognition or to offer them political roles. In fact people like Strive will always remain much more effective outside the realm of politics. Business has potential to have more influence on social development than politics can: Mark Zuckerberg is more powerful and influential than any president on the planet or even all of them put together.

It May Not Make Sense For Strive to Come Back

It may not be strategic for Strive Masiyiwa to move back to Zimbabwe. Why? He is leading a global business now with much more vast and diverse operations outside Zimbabwe hence there is no obvious reason to be in this country. Zimbabwe itself is a very small market and the best tool in Econet Global’s tool kit (assuming that’s Strive’s leadership) could be better utilised elsewhere. Again Econet Wireless Zimbabwe does not face as much competition as does other Econet operations in other economies so they can do just fine without Masiyiwa’s feet on the ground.

That Doesn’t Mean He Won’t Come Back

If he were to come back home it would really be for sentimental reasons. Given the scale of philanthropic activity by Strive and Tsitsi Masiyiwa in Zimbabwe it is clear the attachment they have towards their homeland. If the Masiyiwa’s were to come to live in Zimbabwe it would be to re-establish connection with the country otherwise they probably run their business better from outside.

Maybe Just A Visit

Maybe Strive just visiting will be good enough. My only worry is that if he does visit there will be a hero’s welcome for him and I insist that such welcome is not good for any person (both the welcomed and the welcomed). Besides that, it is good for Zimbabwe if more Zimbabweans with a global perspective come into the country and share that perspective with all of us.



  1. John chirenda


  2. Mwalimu

    While the idea of having him back to Zimbabwe is a good idealism proposition, he has now grown his empire and will need to be in centres of international capital

    1. Tinashe Nyahasha

      Yea, coming back doesn’t make much business sense

  3. Venekera

    You know he left due to a valid warrant of arrest for externalization not because he was chased away right?

    1. Tinashe Nyahasha

      Actually, no.

  4. Enison

    Strive Masiyiwa promised in one of his posts to come back to Zim at some point, I believe he’ll stick to his promise. However, just like you Tinashe I’m disappointed at the level of hero worship in our nation. We need to respect people but we mustn’t put them on a higher pedestal; that’s exactly what brought us to where we are as a nation. Let’s honour our leaders but let’s not exalt them to the position of gods.

    1. Tinashe Nyahasha

      I hope we will get that soon before we find ourselves back in this position again

  5. Vinny

    Strive is now a global brand so coming here is out of the question what he can do for us is to encourage his many partners to invest this side if we put good investment policies.

  6. Anonymous

    #Strive Masiyiwa’s post on FB
    Jephthah writes,

    Are you thinking of relocating back to Zimbabwe sir?

    My reply,
    Sadly no:
    I left Zimbabwe nearly 18 years ago, a life time for a lot of young adults. During that time I built an independent and separate group from the one I originally set up in Zimbabwe.

    The businesses outside Zimbabwe are many more, and need my attention. They also have shareholders and partners who have poured billions of dollars into them, and expect me to meet my contractual obligations to them and the thousands of people that work in them all around the world.

    It is not possible at this time to run these businesses from Zimbabwe, even if I wanted to. Our Zimbabwe business is mature and does not need me.
    This is something an experienced and mature entrepreneur will understand immediately.

    I shall continue to support Zimbabwe, and invest there, as I have always done.
    During the most difficult time for the country I invested more money there than anyone in the country’s history. That will continue as long as its welcome.

  7. Sagitarr

    Sadly. it’s a tad too late for some of the brilliant minds in the diaspora to return to Zimbabwe. In 20 years or so most would have changed citizenship and settled over there. Besides, it’s only RGM who has gone – his whole machinery is still intact, repressive jingoistic policies & laws, clueless and corrupt ministers, incompetent heads or permanent secretaries etc it will take VERY drastic measures to dismantle this system without impacting on whatever productivity there currently is in government. Slow down on the euphoria (we’ve been there before) and increase rational robust debate with no sacred cows!

    1. Tinashe Nyahasha

      Yea I agree. I just hope we can create some momentum that will result in tangible results in the long term. Definitely can’t trust politicians to hold the answer