Tanzania refuses work permit for Kenyan executive

Friday September 28 2018

Sylvia Mulinge heads back to Safaricom after Tanzania declined to issue her with a work permit to take up an MD job in Vodacom. FILE PHOTO | COURTESY


Tanzania's largest telecom Vodacom has confirmed that a work permit application for Sylvia Mulinge who had been appointed as its managing director was declined by the Labour Commissioner.

She was to assume office on June 1.

In a statement Friday, the telco said it would begin the search to replace the Kenyan national.

“Vodacom Tanzania remains fully committed to identifying a candidate that will not only inspire confidence in investors but also have the requisite governance capability as CEO of a listed company.

“Naturally, we are disappointed, and we regret the Labour Commissioner’s decision. We will be engaging with the authorities. We are confident that Vodacom Tanzania has a strong management team in place to lead the company effectively until the search for a suitable candidate is finalised,” the company's chairman Mr Ali Mufuruki said.

Currently, Mr Hisham Hendi is Vodacom’s acting chief executive officer.


The telco, which listed on the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange (DSE) last year, did not give reasons for the government's decision on Ms Mulinge's work permit. However, media reports earlier had suggested that authorities believed that there were Tanzanians who could do the job.

Efforts to reach the Labour Commissioner’s office proved futile as calls went unanswered.

Vodacom's statement was released a day after Kenyan giant telco Safaricom announced that it had rehired Ms Mulinge following nearly five months of unresolved work permit issues that locked her out of Tanzania.

Ms Mulinge was the director for consumer business before she was picked for Vodacom. She now returns as director for special projects.