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‘Commission Agents or middlemen are agents of organised crime’ – alleges Strive Masiyiwa

Derick Matsengarwodzi    Africa’s 2015 top ten ranked most powerful personality and telecommunications mogul, Strive Masiyiwa has alle...

Derick Matsengarwodzi 
Africa’s 2015 top ten ranked most powerful personality and telecommunications mogul, Strive Masiyiwa has alleged that Commission Agents (CA) or middlemen are part of an organised crime network.

Writing about his personal encounters on his Facebook profile, the renowned philanthropist says, “Commission Agents (CA) on public procurement (government tenders) help to oil a machinery that is at the heart of corruption. My own personal view is that CA on a public procurement tender should be strictly regulated…”

The donkey and the carrot
In one particular incident, he reveals an encounter with a European businessperson.

“We want you to be our local partner, you are smart, and you have lots of friends in governments across Africa. When there's a tender which interests us, we'll call you and we can work on it together. We will pay you a 10% commission on every deal that we win together.”

His response was revealing: “What happens if your tender is not the lowest?”

“Then you must do everything to make sure we (you and us) get it. We make only the best equipment. This Chinese stuff is rubbish. Ours is the best, but you know it costs a little more, that is why we need someone like you with a little influence,” mentioned the director persistently. 

Mr Masiyiwa's response was rhetoric. 

“You want me to be a Commission Agent? You are looking for a Commission Agent. I don't do that kind of business because it means that somewhere along the line I will be required to cut deals which are corrupt.”

Though the man tried in vain to be diplomatic, he was outdone in his bid to solicit the entrepreneur’s influence in the tender processes. He left his office in a huff.   

Middlemen are business enemies
 “There are some countries where all business is done through so-called Commission Agents. This is organised corruption. Do not admire people who make money as “Commission Agents,” despite the conspicuous consumption that often follows their way of life – they are not entrepreneurs. Also be wary about companies that simply want to use you as an agent and middleman. That is not entrepreneurship,” declares Masiyiwa.

Having encountered a plethora of corrupt tendencies before he finally won a license to operate his mobile business in Harare, Masiyiwa has earned respect in various circles around the globe for his approach. 

“The business of “providing access” is one of the worst forms of corruption. Large international companies that have so called “local partners” whose role is simply to provide “access to the right people” are not innocent of corruption, even though their fancy lawyers might say otherwise.”

And his counsel to Africa is simple.

“Let's play by a different set of rules. Let's kick corruption and corrupt practices out of Africa.”
His well-received write-ups will proceed in earnest. – Tinzwei   

Derick Matsengarwodzi is a communication consultant, author – and founder of The Aloe Media. An ardent researcher plus media devotee – you can interact with him through Facebook or Follow his authoritative, eloquent, analytical and revealing writing flow on: or

Tinzwei Is A Worth Voyage For Those In Pursuit For Up-To-Date World Events.

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