Former Telecel Zimbabwe CEO fights back after his dismissal
By Golden Sibanda
Former Telecel Zimbabwe chief executive Francis Mawindi is disputing his dismissal as CEO of the company arguing it was not justified contrary to the mobile phone operator’s claims that he had resigned.
Mr Mawindi, who only lasted nine months since stepping into the hot seat in July 2012, has since taken the company to court seeking reinstatement.
Telecel operations in Zimbabwe are enmeshed in controversy as it seeks to renew its licence amid pressure from the Government to regularise its shareholding structure in line with the country’s indigenisation laws.
The dismissed executive had initially taken the matter to the Labour Court, which has in turn directed the feuding parties to resolve the matter through arbitration.
The parties then approached the Ministry of Labour and Social Services, which is yet to appoint an arbitrator, but Herald Business understands that Telecel has since allegedly admitted breaching Mr Mawindi’s contract.
In an interview yesterday, Mr Mawindi said discussions will now centre on the quantum of his compensation rather than the propriety or impropriety of the dismissal. The ex-CEO of Zimbabwe’s second biggest mobile operator argued that his contract was unlawfully terminated and the reasons for termination were not justifiable.
When publicly announcing Mr Mawindi’s departure in March this year, Telecel claimed that its former CEO had left to pursue other opportunities elsewhere.
“Telecel as a matter of principle will not provide comments regarding employee contracts that they have with their current and or former employees.
“These contracts are personal and confidential in nature and must be treated with discretion,” Telecel said earlier, when pressed to explain Mr Mawindi’s departure.
Telecel Zimbabwe communications and brand director Mr Obert Mandimika yesterday referred all questions to Telecel International saying this was a policy issue that only the firm’s Egyptian shareholders could answer.
“There is no way I can comment on the resignation of my boss as he is the one who employed me. I can only speak on operational and management issues,” he said.
But Telecel reportedly officially informed Mr Mawindi that his contract was being prematurely terminated because the shareholders where not happy with the firm’s performance and that he was not operationally aligned to the group.
On the contrary, Mr Mawindi claimed he was ejected from his position because of his stance on a number of operational and structural issues at Telecel Zimbabwe.
Mr Mawindi has chronicled an extensive list of his achievements and initiatives during his shortlived spell at the mobile telecommunications firm, which he said dwarfed shareholders’ preposterous claims of his poor performance.
These include a blueprint and roadmap that increased profitability and market share by 30 percent, population coverage from 70 to 80 percent, subscribers from 2 to 2,58 million and revenue 6 percent above budget (43 percent year on year) from July to December 2012 and US$39 million operating profit.
Mr Mawindi argues that Telecel Zimbabwe should respect his rights and compensate him fully since he was grossly inconvenienced when he left his previous job.
Prior to joining Telecel Zimbabwe Mr Mawindi was the head of business operations for global services at France Telecom Orange in New York, United States. The Herald