ZIMBABWE – President Robert Mugabe has turned to his daughter Bona to rescue his Gushungo Holdings Company, which is reportedly struggling to stay afloat.
Sources said Bona reported for work two weeks ago and called for an emergency meeting at which she read the riot act to the management team led by Albert Nhari.
“She was very angry with the state the company is in. Bona openly told workers that she was not happy with management and dressed Nhari and his team down,” one of the sources said.
“Workers were asked to air their grievances and she promised to look into them. It was a hairdryer kind of meeting for Nhari and his colleagues in management.”
While insiders claimed most members of Nhari’s management team had been relieved of their duties, the Gushungo Dairies general manager on Friday said he was still “at work”.
“I am actually at work and still have my job. Nothing of that sort has happened,” Nhari said.
But Nhari is said to be “walking dead” waiting for the conclusion of an audit that is likely to be used as the basis for his dismissal.
Sources claimed Nhari had already been replaced by a man only identified as Zietsman.
Mugabe’s spokesperson George Charamba did not directly respond to questions sent to him on the matter, although he answered some to do with a story published in our sister paper NewsDay about alleged gay ministers.
Gushungo Holdings subsidiary, Alpha and Omega Dairies, was also reportedly reeling under the weight of a $20 million debt as loses pile up.
Mugabe and his wife are said to be actively seeking out potential investors to shore up the crumbling empire touted as a “showcase” of the land redistribution exercise that turned into chaos and brought Zimbabwe’s once thriving agricultural sector to its knees.
Insiders said Bona was leaving nothing to chance in her quest to rid the company of underperformers.
“She is cleaning up the mess and some white faces are being seen, including relatives from her husband’s side,” said another source.
“Rot and maladministration have thrived; managers have run down Gushungo Dairies, stolen money and abused resources.
“Some cattle are missing, machine breakdowns have become more frequent, leading to severe product shortage. There is poor corporate governance with nepotism the order of the day.”
Mugabe two weeks ago claimed external auditors hired to sift into the company’s accounts had unearthed shocking details.
“Some [of the employees] did accounts, but prefer not to follow proper accounting procedures to hide their thievery. We have hired auditors from Ernst Young and what they are unearthing is shocking,” he told mourners during the burial of a relative recently.
Early this year, three employees at Mugabe’s multi-million dollar farming empire, were hauled before a Bindura magistrate and jailed for theft.
One of the employees, Okay Mataramvura claimed he had been savagely tortured in police custody and forced to implicate five other workers.
Two were acquitted, but human rights groups cried foul, accusing Mugabe’s government of institutionalising torture.
The other three were reportedly jailed for defrauding Mugabe of over $100 000.
Mugabe seized Gushungo Holdings Farm in 2013. The farm was formerly owned by a white couple.
The First Family went on to establish a dairy operation, said to produce in excess of 375 000 litres of milk per month, with the farm boasting 2 000 dairy cows.
In August last year, Mugabe told his Zanu PF party’s Youth League congress after donating food that he was yet to make a profit out of his investment.