Neville Mutsvangwa, son of Zimbabwe’s former Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa, is reportedly profiting from Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite internet service despite its lack of official licensing in the country.
This revelation has sparked outrage and accusations of cronyism, raising concerns about fair business practices and potential regulatory capture.
According to posts seen by ZiMetro News before they were deleted, Neville Mutsvangwa has been actively promoting Starlink services in Zimbabwe since early 2023. He has even established a company called “Mumba Money” that appears to be facilitating Starlink payments.
However, Starlink currently operates in a legal grey area in Zimbabwe. While the government has expressed interest in the technology, it has yet to issue any official licenses or permits for its operation.
This lack of clarity creates an uneven playing field for other internet service providers who must comply with established regulations.
Critics argue that Neville Mutsvangwa’s apparent involvement with Starlink smacks of preferential treatment. His close family ties to the government, particularly the former Information Minister who used to oversee the telecommunications sector, raise questions about whether he received special access or inside information.
Furthermore, concerns exist that Starlink’s unregulated entry could disrupt the local internet landscape. Without proper oversight, issues of data privacy, security, and spectrum interference could arise. Additionally, Starlink’s high-speed, low-latency internet could potentially disadvantage existing providers who have invested heavily in infrastructure under the current regulatory framework.
The government’s silence on the matter has only fueled speculation and public anger. Many Zimbabweans are frustrated by the lack of transparency and accountability, particularly when it comes to issues with such significant economic and technological implications.
Neville Mutsvangwa has not publicly commented on the allegations. However, his social media activity suggests he continues to promote Starlink services, further blurring the lines between personal business ventures and potential conflicts of interest.
As the situation unfolds, Zimbabweans are left wondering: will Starlink be held to the same standards as other players in the market? Or will Neville Mutsvangwa’s privileged connections shield him from scrutiny, allowing him to profit from an unregulated technology in a country desperate for better internet access?
Only time will tell if this episode signifies a concerning trend of crony capitalism or simply a case of a young entrepreneur seizing an opportunity.
But one thing is certain: the lack of transparency and accountability surrounding Starlink’s operations in Zimbabwe does little to inspire public confidence in either the technology or those who stand to gain from it.