Self-Styled “Social Media Disciplinary Committee”, Be Mindful Of Market Distortions You Might Create (The Case of Mobile Services Providers)


Self-Styled “Social Media Disciplinary Committee”, Be Mindful Of Market Distortions You Might Create (The Case of Mobile Services Providers).

Unfailingly, I have been following sporadic pronouncements by the self-styled “Social Media Disciplinary Committee” on thematic issues on social media. Claims have been made, that they disciplined the former ruling political party PF and some celebrities for not keeping in line with the allegedly desired norms of the masses. I will be the first one to concede that the said is true to a significant extent.

As a politician, scholar and entrepreneur I understand the power of social media and what it’s capabilities. It’s a great tool for creating narratives or trends of interest in a target host community.

Given the above, my discourse anchors on the approach of the disciplinary committee towards bidding for improved quality of service delivery and pricing among mobile services providers. Admittedly, across all network providers, poor quality of service delivery and lack of value for money for the services has been the order of the day.

However, the approach in dealing with the matter has been my point of departure. Yes, it could have worked well for the political and entertainment arena, I believe in the business arena, much as we might get what we want using this approach, it might create some market distortions.

My argument is that this approach can potentially cause market distortions. Unlike the political arena, business craft has a way of doing things. There are business environment factors and market drivers that dictate how a business will position itself in a market, and how it will enter, penetrate, and grow market share. Regulatory bodies (legal environment) are on hand to protect the citizens’ interest, as it relates to the quality of service delivery, money for value, and unfair competition.

Yes, they could be a social pressure movement under the culture/social factor in the business environment. However, that’s where the pressure point is, there is a likelihood that social trend that is hostile to business might entrench themselves to the detriment of business advancements.

Before I propose an alternative route, allow me to depict some of the market distortions that might arise due to the approach that has been taken;

a) The current business environment, across industry sectors, customers demand, high-quality services and timely delivery, at a lower price . Companies that have succeeded to meet their customers’ demands have done so through, innovation, continuous improvement, and total quality management (TQM) among other things.

Therefore, if the quest succeeds, in the long term, companies might not prioritize being a customer-centric entity, thus reducing the budget line toward innovation, continuous improvement, and TQM. The order of the day would be a conspiracy between some members of the disciplinary committee, who are social media influencers, and companies with the bid to grow business market share. This is an unsustainable, unconventional way of doing business and must be checked.

b) If the quest succeeds, it might create an undesirable culture/social trends in the business environment. Today, it could be mobile services providers under fire; tomorrow it will be the finance and banking sector. Imagine, someone fails to pay off a loan, goes on social media platform, and screams, “ commercial bank interest must fall”. Doing so with know or lack of it, that bank interest rates are a product of Monetary Policy Rates, set by BOZ to contribute toward the attainment of specific macroeconomic objectives. Depending on the magnitude of the social media push; the power that be, if populist, will yield and the rest of the story is history. This has the potential to distort financial markets and a lost opportunity to attain set macroeconomic objectives. Possible trickle down effect would be reduced foreign direct investments (FDI) inflows.

The other distortion would be that, in long term, various business market bases would become runny and unstable. Because a social media call, targeted at a specific business sector market and specific business entities, would to a significant extent influence market share shift in favor of a company or companies of interest. This in the long-term would pose challenges for planning and forecasting for the businesses, thus incurring losses, reduced income and investments.

The above are, but just some of the market distortions that the proposed course of action might cause. The actions seem noble and harmless but without foresight, this could be disastrous for businesses and the economy in the long term.

Here is my simple advice to the “Social Media Disciplinary Committee”, get yourself structured as a social movement; you don’t have to be necessarily registered. Let your online interventions be clear, coordinated, and informed. In the case of social media interventions in the business environment, identify regulatory bodies, business sector associations, and business entities of interest, and engage them on the grievances of citizens as it relates to poor service delivery and lack of value for money in their pricing.

Besides, as a nation we know what you are capable of, but use your power in a structured manner and contribute to the development of your country.

As for business entities, which want to take advantage of the said social media interventions; take a step backward, rethink, innovate, invest in continuous improvement, and total quality management among other things. Provide improved quality service delivery and at relatively lower prices to the market and conventional wrestle the market share from your competitors. Avoid unfair competition, and take heed of the advice.

In the event that your business increase its market share base using this unfair competition, I am told a new kid is coming in the telecommunication sector; you might end up being the greatest loser, mark my words. When the new kid launch their mobile services products on the market, your market share base will be eroded in a month because you gained the through unconventional, and unsustainable means.

Ba Social Media Disciplinary Committee, your member signing off. Epompelele (I end here), Wamakhutu anva (those with ears have heard).

The Struggle Continues

Sensio Banda
Former Member of Parliament
Kasenengwa Constituency
Eastern Province


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here