by Alex Magaisa
It seems to me that not a single day passes without reading a rant directed at Zimbabwe's biggest company, Econet - the diversified mobile phone services business.
I had my own rant last year, when my credit seemed to disappear without cause. But every other day, I read a rant of one character or another - all pointing to one thing: unhappiness of helpless customers.
Perhaps it's just confirmation of its omnipresence in our lives - a company which but for Strive Masiyiwa's admirable resilience and peserverence and Joshua Nkomo's godfatherly backing could have been strangled at birth.
By people who did not understand leadership and business. No business organisation is bigger and more present in the lives of ordinary Zimbabweans. Even the grand old dame, Old Mutual, with all its wealth and perhaps wisdom that comes with age and experience, does not seem to have as much influence in our day to day lives.
Now in addition to its core business in mobile telephony, Econet is a bank, a money-transfer agent, a payment agent and more. Ever inventive, Zimbabweans have even crafted jokes around Econet's ubiquitousness.
All in good spirit. Zimbabweans are generally proud of its founder and for good reason. Yet it seems there is something about the business' services that requires attention. I have heard some who say it behaves like a bully on the playground. And others who say the customer service could be better. And more who are ranting about product quality.
I tried the WorldRemit-Ecocash phone top-up service to a brothers' Econet line a few weeks ago. It was just £10 - a trial run. They topped up his mobile phone by $10.
It did not make economic sense. I don't know. I have many friends and comrades in that behemoth and I hope they read this too and other rants from other comrades and take note of our concerns. I love Econet dearly because of its history and because of its representation of hope and progress - a statement that we too, can do it.
I am proud to talk it up whenever I am among foreigners - it is our first big multinational, born and bred in Zimbabwe by Zimbabweans. And I want it to do well. But I also want it to serve us well. I do hope it listens.