The NetOne saga involving embattled Chief Executive Lazarus Muchenje has taken a new twist with sources from the Ministry of ICT alleging that Muchenje is being protected by Minister of Home Affairs Kazembe Kazembe.
A Ministry of ICT source who spoke to this reporter on condition of anonymity said Muchenje had the backing of the former Minister of Information Communication Technology Kambe Kazembe.
Said the source, "Muchenje and Kazembe are former high school buddies and very close friends, and went to high school together at Allan Wilson.
"Every deal that Muchenje engaged in had the blessing of the former ICT Minister Kazembe Kazembe who benefited from the said shady deals including the murky interconnection deal."
The source added that NetOne staffers who are willing to testify in the US$1 million USSD server gateway deal want to communicate directly with Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission Chairperson fearing that junior officials from the Ministry of Home Affairs may be hostile them as the case sucks in their superior.
"Muchenje who had been fired by Supa Mandiwanzira should have never been reinstated as he had shown a hostile attitude to the shareholder by way of suing the OPC and the Minister of ICT."
The source added, "Kazembe reinstated Muchenje and kept him against the advice of technocrats."
In 2018 a NetOne board, which was later disbanded, suspended Muchenje after he refused to renew the contracts of 9 senior executives within the company.
The then ICT Minister Supa Mandiwanzira accused Muchenje of making decisions without consulting board members.
Muchenje was only reinstated as CEO after a new minister of ICT came into the picture Kazembe Kazembe. The new minister appointed a fresh board and Muchenje dismissed the executives he did not want to work.
Meanwhile, Lazarus Muchenje has again approached the High Court challenging his dismissal where he claims in papers that only President Emmerson Mnangagwa has the power to dismiss him from his post.
Muchenje was recently dismissed from the State-run company but is challenging the termination to be declared null and void by the courts.
He argues Mnangagwa is the only person who can fire him from his job.
Muchenje is suing Netone vice-chairperson Susan Mutangadura, board members, Winston Makamure, Ranagarirai Mavhunga, Beulah Chirume, Douglas Mamvura, and NetOne.
He also wants the NetOne board to be interdicted from publishing his illegal dismissal or the termination of his contract and advertising his position.
Makamure wrote and served Muchenje with the dismissal letter dated July 9.