Wednesday, July 17, 2024

A Case Against Selling ZAMTEL to Foreigners: I know Zambians that can run it Profitably


By Ngobola Cengelo Muyembe writes

When countries are taking advantage of Cryptocurrencies using tech companies like Huawei, Mutati thinks it is normal to sell Zamtel as Technology Minister. Trading in gold gave countries standing in the world but the new gold is data and virtual money now. In a country where no one knows the ratio between virtual money and actual printed money, decisions like those being pushed by Felix Mutati can not be seen as a crime until it is too late. Printing money is a preserve of central government and that is why when you are found with the counterfeit currency it becomes a crime but in the future tech companies like Zamtel will be the ones printing virtual money through transfers. Selling that company is the worst crime one can do to his own country.

China uses WeChat as a currency today using their own communication company equivalent to Zamtel to pay salaries and transactions. This saves a lot of money for the government and they keep their people’s data in the country, data that could have been mined by the likes of google for sale to third parties. If you really think that only outsiders are capable, why don’t you just privatise everything including government ministries, Zambia Police, Zambia Army and ZNS?

Should we go and get white people to come and run our government? If your people can trust you to run their government, why don’t you put them first when making decisions like this? Selling Zamtel will mean that you will hand over the privacy of your own people to a foreign company that will be selling off personal data to third parties.

During the Rhodesian wars, Ian Smith was jamming PTC (now Zamtel) communications to sabotage our own army. Samora Machel was killed using jammed communication and here we have some Minister at the forefront of destroying the future. Google and other technology companies in Silicon are allowed to be independent because their government still has an upper hand and monopoly over communication through NASA. Elon Musk and his Space X are still sub-contractors of NASA and for them to get to the international space centre, they had to win a contract with the government. What else will you have when you sell everything to foreigners?

When you have a fossil Felix Mutati that believes in foreigners being in charge of a Technology Ministry, it is impossible to convince him that we have people in this country that can turn Zamtel around if given the same incentives as those who were clapping for the President. We have these very bad Zambians that work against the interest of their own country and to make matters worse, we even pay them for it. In the early stages of privatisation, Bwalya Chiti did the same thing to Zamtel when he was at Communications Authority by blocking Zamtel to go GSM so that they could start Cell phones.

They said Zamtel had no capacity but today, I have a Zamtel simcard and so are more than a million other Zambians. Bwalya Chiti was deliberately propping up companies like Telecel (MTN) and Zamcell (Airtel) which were just small start-ups with no infrastructure to stand on. They were lying to the people that the Zamtel Management never wanted it go GSM but some very bad Zambians like Bwalya Chiti had shares in Telecel which is now MTN that was basically riding on Zamtel Infrastructure and they kept blocking it from getting cellphones.

Those of us that were still patriotic even got those analogue phones without sim cards. Traitors have been trying to kill this company that was built by our forefathers for years and today this Mutati is at it again after Sata got it back. Bwalya Chiti after causing so much carnage at Zamtel over pennies paid to him in form of shares by those that owned Telecel, even came back to the government for a job in Chagwa government.

The MTN and Airtel you see today grew from Zamtel yet Mutati and company are spreading lies on behalf of those bidding to buy it that this company cannot make profits or maybe they are just too ignorant to know otherwise. My guess is that someone has been promised a few pennies by some street kids from outside to sell this company. If you don’t know anything just give Zamtel to young Zambians instead of getting people we do not know from outside to come and be in charge of our private information.

After all, you have sold a lot of companies to outsiders for a song, why not give your own people a chance? KCM was given to Vedanta even before they even paid a single penny for it and they just used the same copper sales to pay for the same company. Today people are even saying Vedanta is the rightful owner! The Zambian people are the rightful owners who just have criminals negotiating for them.

I know people that can run Zamtel profitably if you gave it to them the same way you did with KCM. That company is a virtual money maker and a data mine you are trying to sell.


  1. Ba Minister please think of other companies to list up for sale. We are now more digitally informed than before and would never ever risk to give away a national communication facility like Zamtel. Let me say this again, we are no longer in the past dark Sir. Let the local Zambian think tanks drive Zamtel to success. We have them and they are many. Professor Clive Chirwa is a good case in point sir.

  2. I love this! “The Zambians are the rightful owners who have criminals negotiating for them.” The greed of individuals is what has brought down Zambia. The guys that lavished themselves when they were given CopperNET Solutions are now broke are walking the streets in tattered old 3 piece suits. Most of Zambia’s celebrated business moguls can’t be profiled because they got their wealth through inflated GRZ tenders or cut deals when they had chance to oversee GRZ business.If the UPND agenda is to conduct a Zambia for Sale 2 they won’t have it easy. A majority of us Zambians now want the economy in the hands of Zambians.

  3. You already sold Zamtel to the Chinks years ago…I mean most of the technology is Chinese maintained by Chinese engineers…ask Zambian engineers and technicians they will tell you that there are some areas where they ain’t allowed.
    As sad as it is to sell, I mean we can’t profitably run a telecoms firm in a lucrative sector….same Mutati who was in PF when the debt to the Libyans was £250m is the same one when debt has now doubled.

  4. “………Google and other technology companies in Silicon are allowed to be independent because their government still has an upper hand and monopoly over communication through NASA. Elon Musk and his Space X are still sub-contractor…..”

    NASA has nothing to do with GSM technology and the American variant and other private communication systems in the USA…….

    The author does not know what he is talking about…………..

    • Problem with these waanabe authors of today is they dont research or consult experts in the field …they just type away information they do not really understand. He is all over the place in this article…he has not even touched on ZAMTEL’s debt.

  5. When hh went to study abroad, those whltes he worship only taught him how to mess up his economy and make them richer by selling his country’s resources to them for nothing. This is what he did in 1994-5 and is doing now

  6. A Zambian article never goes by without name-dropping. So when someone makes an intelligent transaction and profits while you buy yourself an analogue phone you want us to believe that you are patriotic? That is jealousy. Let us not be delusional, selling assets is not a bad thing, are you aware that ZICTA received 3% of the sales of all these MNOs? That is a massive coup especially when there are little to no costs of regulation. These MNOs also pay tax at 40%. Zamtel’s capitalization is nowhere near MTN’s or Airtel’s and expecting a government that is already strapped for cash to keep recapitalizing the company is reckless. Where a non-controlling stake can be disposed of, there is no reason why this option is bad.

  7. Iwe PF cadres Ngobola, which Zambians are those? time for hallucinations or day masterbating are long gone, come to the fore and exibit evidence-show us which Zambians is it that only you know of. Honest speaking-which Zambian-yes we are now hearing of James Ndambo and even him he is still new in Zambia so he cant jst dish out cash everywhere.Other than that, who? is it Kaizer Zulu? Bowman Lusambo? Findlay? Copala richman? or Commando? Be specific iwe ka sir.

  8. Always talking malabbishi in the name of patriotism, what is patriotism if you worked for GRZ and instd of giving to it, you stole from it and everyday was dishing out stolen cash and buying yourselves properties everywhere. Your wives wore weaves costing millions as change. And today you want to claim of having capable Zambian businessmen/women – which ones? mention names. Who? Even at Soweto market or Kamwala market bigger shops are well run and owned by foreigners there. So how will you jump the queue-it is those people that will equally win bigger contracts or tenders cos they ve proved their consistency & reliability to GRZ. GOvernment wont just wake up from your slumber in Katondo street & feed millions into your mouth to run Zamtel. _You must be mad!

  9. It’s very simple. If there are Zambians with the knowhow, capital and interest to run Zamtel, let them bid and buy it. Sellers do not deal with invisible clients. As for Clive–what a cheat of a person! (he’s rumoured to be plagiarizing student theses and faking unverifiable achievements on his CV). He promised a bus-making company to be built in Kapiri and it would start production by August 2020. He show-cased a minibus (which had Chinese manufacturer name) and purported he had designed it. It’s 2022 and he has not even applied for a plot where to site the factory, he has not registered a company, either. Chap is now on other ideas fleecing money. Be factual baba. No utopia here

  10. It is not true that foreign owned companies operating in this country sell information to third parties, it is just a lie told too often. I am not sure why we like demonizing foreign companies in this country. There are also too many experts who know nothing in this country but will wake up and write anything. Your own companies are failing to sponsor a sport that unites the whole country ,soccer in this country, a foreign company MTN is sponsoring both the league and national team at great cost but you still demonise them for nothing. And they have a lot of community projects too. Zamtel is a management failed project so no need to blame foreign companies, if it needs to be sold, off load it. And I bought my MTN sim card just because of what they are doing for us, I know how to…

  11. Zamtel has now overtaken all other MNOs in terms of network roll out but with no solid commercial strategy. If Zamtel requires 265 million dollars to survive, quickly off load it, even to foreigners please. We have been down this path before, no debate here and no room for xenophobia. This is a global village now, expand your thinking to outside Zambia

    • So after after expanding the network then you want to give to others to come and ride on Zambian’s sacrifice? Why not appoint a board that can freely put into place Management that can refocus their strategy and operations towards greater commercialization to make it make profits??

  12. Praise singers here lack wisdom. That is why they cannot interpret clearly what Ngobola is trying to propound. In essence, what Ngobola and many Zambians out there, especially the enterprising youths are asking is that, “why do you think we cannot manage Zamtel and other institutions if given the same tax holidays and incentives as given to foreigners? “

  13. 1990s privatisation,sale of Zambia consolidated copper mines,parastatal companies and government infrastructure saw a few individuals emerge rich,industries vanish,job losses,death of bread winners and death of families.

  14. Ba Author go back and research more about your Airtel( then trading as Zamcel ) allegation of having come from Zamtel.
    Also research on the roles of Zambia Railways and Zesco in the initial stages.
    The international Gateway was protected then and till it was liberalised thus when otger networks became free to carry international traffic.

  15. KiKiKiki Oooh! yes, Zamtel is is a Zambian company and its asset profile, liabilities status can be ascertained by any Zambian potential investor(s), Zambian entrepreneurs with technical experience and qualifications to assess Zamtel and make a case, engage the government to vie run Zamtel profitably. Thought provoking narratives without definitive suggestions and solutions is academically flawed – be real and offer practical ideas.

  16. It’s as if Africans are cursed with incompetence on how to manage resources and assets we possess. Set up a sovereign wealth fund and have such gems as strategic assets. Issue domestic and regional bonds for financing and run it ourselves. Enter into a strategic alliance with Huawei, Zamtel is a good revenue generating opportunity. Why always think of selling? This is incompetence in leadership to abrogate responsibility by selling everything is the reason we end up losing to other nationalities as a people. Just look at how we gave away ZANACO, KCM and Kagem literally for free. If you’ve failed give others a chance.

  17. I have read all the posting, definately I am not dull, but what is read is many divergent views that cancel each other meaning any serious thinker may not get what is the intention of the bloggers. First, zambians must realise that only us zambians will develop our beloved country. Second, we can develop our country only when we believe in our abilities and united capabilities. Third, we must stop being petty and envious and self seeking. Let us seek the best for all, not what is mine. Four, stop it bane, a Zambian will work with another Zambian only if the other accepts a low life designation by a fellow Zambian. May God forgive your sins and lead all zbians to repentance for all your atrocities. Evil ones repent this time around.

  18. So who is running the company now for it to be making losses, are they not the same Zambians running it or may be we have different Zambians elsewhere with capabilities……..this article sounds like the company is not currently run by the same Zambians he wishing for

  19. All this time zamtel was running as a failed company accumulating huge debts you can’t say anything but the moment they want to sell it all of a sudden you know how to run it and make it so profitable that you will even be able to pay of the debts in no time. So where were you and your people all this time?

  20. We can not afford to loose Zamtel to foreign investors again, currently Zamtel is the best service provider in Zambia,it has affordable data and calling rates among things, though it’s struggling to make headway in terms of mobile money,if it can make a strategy like the way it has done to data and call rates it can make a big breakthrough,let the management rethink about this including renowned economists we have in Zambia

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