“MY heroes are people like Wangari Maathai, Jody Williams, Martin Luther King Jnr, William Wilberforce, who showed extraordinary leadership without ever stepping into a State House or Parliament,” says telecoms entrepreneur Strive Masiyiwa.
The globally respected Econet founder was interacting with social media followers after being named one of ‘The World’s 50 Greatest Leaders’ by Fortune Magazine.
“Few people have shaped modern Africa as much as Masiyiwa, whose telecommunications firm, Econet, came into being in 1998 after a long legal battle with the Zimbabwe government.
“Masiyiwa has since relocated to London, but his energetic and well-rounded philanthropy still makes an impact in Africa; he chairs numerous boards and has been lauded for supporting orphans, funding scholarships, and fighting hunger, poverty, and Ebola,” said Fortune.
The tycoon recently issued a statement through his South Africa office dismissing claims by the Harare regime that he would challenge President Robert Mugabe in next year’s elections.
State media reports had claimed that Masiyiwa was being primed to lead an opposition coalition in the crunch vote.
Cabinet minister Supa Mandiwanzira upped the ante by telling legislators that the businessman man was using his Zimbabwe companies to back his political ambitions.
Pouring cold water on the reports and likely calming the paranoid Harare State House, the Econet chief’s office said: “Mr. Masiyiwa left Zimbabwe on the 22nd March 2000 [17 years ago], and has not been in the country since.
“He does not follow or even read what is written about him in the local press.
“If you study election cycles in Zimbabwe over the last 20 years, you will find the same pattern; fabrications, speculations, and fake news.
“He does not comment, and life goes on until the next election cycle.”
Meanwhile, Masiyiwa said he was humbled to be named among the world’s greatest leaders by Fortune Magazine.
“I’m humbled to have been nominated for a second time,” he said.
“I was particularly humbled by the comments in this article from Jean Case, who with her husband, Steve Case, founded the company America Online, one of the companies credited with developing the Internet as a global marketplace.”
Commenting on Masiyiwa’s nomination at number 33, Case remarked: “Strive Masiyiwa’s life and his business story is impressive, but it is his lifelong commitment to helping others that set him apart…
“He is a crusader who has transformed countless sectors and lives while also seeking to preserve Africa’s vital resources through his own sustainable investments and environmental policy leadership… I am inspired by his vision, his persistence, and his fearless spirit.”