Mnangagwa License Starlink, The Full Story.

After all the talk, controversy, arrests and fines, Zimbabwe has finally licensed Starlink.

Starlink is an Elon Musk affiliated company owned by SpaceX, which offers Low Earth Obit satellite internet connectivity services.

The company has been on an aggressive expansion globally and offers its services to many remote places across the planet.

Africa, lagging behind in internet connectivity due to infrastructure challenges, has been one of the regions mostly anticipating Starlink.

Zimbabwe has until now been hesitant to license the company, with some hawks within the ruling Zanu Pf party expressing paranoia that the service would be used to “spy on the country”.

In a post today on his official X handle, Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced that he had licensed Starlink to start operating in Zimbabwe.

“One of the strategic pillars that anchor the 2nd Republic’s developmental agenda under Vision 2030 is innovation, science and technology. Prioritization of the digital economy and the emerging importance of technology in our day to day activities requires Government to lead from the front in providing an environment where investment in technology is promoted.

“In this vein, I’m pleased to announce that i have approved the licensing of Starlink by POTRAZ to provide advanced internet and related digital processing services in Zimbabwe through its sole and exclusive local partner, IMC Communications (Pvt) Ltd. Starlink @Starlink is a Low Earth Orbit (LEO) Satellite operator wholly owned by global conglomerate Space X led by promiment multi-billionaire @ElonMusk.

“The entry by Starlink in the digital telecommunications space in Zimbabwe is expected to result in the deployment of high speed, low cost, LEO internet infrastructure throughout Zimbabwe and particularly in all the rural areas. This will be in fulfillment of my Administration’s undertaking to leave no one and no place behind.

“The investment confidence expressed by Starlink in Zimbabwe’s telecommunications infrastructure also dovetails with the 2nd Republic’s mantra, “Zimbabwe is open for business”. I encourage more investment by foreign conglomerates in Zimbabwe as we are an investment destination of choice.

“I take this opportunity, on behalf of the Government of Zimbabwe, to congratulate IMC Communications (Pvt) Ltd and Starlink on this commendable milestone aimed at revolutionizing the digital and communications technology landscape in Zimbabwe.

“Investments of this magnitude and strategic importance represent the cornerstone for achieving the 2nd Republic’s objective of having a fully digitalized, upper-middle income economy by 2030.”

The announcement has brought lots of celebration from many Zimbabweans with many expressing their joy on social media platforms.

Many Zimbabweans, who have had to endure erratic, expensive and unreliable service from the country’s ISPs breathed a sign of relief, hoping that bad internet connectivity would be a thing of the past.

Some Zimbabweans however expressed outrage at the fact that a whole Presidrnt had to announce the licensing, seemingly usurping Potraz (Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority Of Zimbabwe), which is the regulatory body for the sector.

Some felt that this was a clear indication that Zimbabwe does not have strong and independent institutions that can make decisions without the input of politicians.

Many locals also questioned the ownership of IMC communications, which is Starlink’s local partner.

Social media users demanded to know the ownership of the company, with several asking why Starlink needed a local partner when it is already a direct-to-consumer business that doesn’t necessarily require a middleman.

Several Social Media users are of the opinion that the service will become expensive, owning to the involvement of a third party.

There are suspicions that IMC communications is owned by businessman Wicknell Chivayo, who has been on a car buying spree where he buys expensive cars for musicians who supported the ruling Zanu Pf party in the last elections or sang at its rallies. The maverick businessman, who recently revealed that he just bought a USD$7M house that used to be owned by Augustine Chihuri, an ex police commissioner now living in exile in Malawi.

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