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Chiwenga opens up on Miss Zimbabwe squabbles

By Mtandazo Dube

HARARE – Miss Zimbabwe Trust chairperson, Marry Chiwenga, last week opened up on her relationship with the “original” Miss Zimbabwe, Thabiso Phiri and “substitute” Catherine Makaya.

BITTER END: From left Pamela Hakunavanhu and Nyarai Bwanya, members of the Miss Zimbabwe Trust console dethroned Miss Zimbabwe Thabiso Phiri and chairperson Mary Chiwenga at the crowing of new Miss Zimbabwe. Pic: Annie Mpalume
BITTER END: From left Pamela Hakunavanhu and Nyarai Bwanya, members of the Miss Zimbabwe Trust console dethroned Miss Zimbabwe Thabiso Phiri and chairperson Mary Chiwenga at the crowing of new Miss Zimbabwe. Pic: Annie Mpalume

While expressing confidence in third choice Miss Zimbabwe 2014, Tendai Hunda, who is in London for the ongoing Miss World beauty contest, Mrs Chiwenga took time to talk about her bond or lack thereof with the two dethroned beauty queens.

“I had no chemistry at all with the just dethroned Miss Zimbabwe substitute Catherine Makaya as she refused to come to meetings or speak to me on the phone. I once sent her a message after failed attempts to get her to come to the office, but all was in vain as she maintained the same stance.

“Her family only tried to speak to me when she was dethroned after reading her shocking narration of our relationship in this same paper. She never before tried to communicate with us, her family became her advocates,” she said.

Mrs Chiwenga, a former model, was accused of being difficult to work with by dethroned Makaya through her manager Yvonne Chiwara.

“It is unfortunate for other people to perceive me as being difficult to work with. I personally had a very good working relationship with the original Miss Zimbabwe 2014 Thabiso Phiri, she was very respectful and the biggest common asset that we shared was that of communication.

“It is sad that the type of chemistry that we shared was overtaken by events and in the end a good work related relationship was lost,” she said.

She also dismissed her critics and those “bent on tarnishing her image” saying the Trust will not compromise its integrity for anyone.

“We expect Tendai Hunda to represent Zimbabwe exceptionally well as she is very bright, articulate and composed. So far since she has joined camp she has adjusted well and managed to adapt. According to the Miss World website Tendai managed to make it to the top twenty of the top model contest which had more than 130 contestants.

“This development precisely shows that the negative publicity that has hogged Miss Zimbabwe in the last couple of months has no negative impact whatsoever on Tendai, if anything, it has made her and ourselves stronger and more determined to uphold uprightness, integrity and discipline, tenets which the Trust will not compromise,” she said.

Hunda joined the Miss World boot camp several days after models from over 130 countries had already started key activities that make up part of the Miss World contest. However, Mrs Chiwenga is unmoved.

“As you might be aware, if you have done thorough research on Miss World, the Talent and Sports shows etcetera are not compulsory, it’s a choice one has to make if they feel that they are strong and exceptionally talented in the said areas. These marks don’t contribute to the finale of the actual pageant,” she said.

She said the Trust was in constant communication with the Miss World Organisation.

“They gave us a date and a time for which our representative should arrive in London after the 20th and Tendai made it in the nick of time, fortunately for us. For the record, Miss World wrote a supporting letter for Tendai’s visa to attend the prestigious event.

“It is equally imperative to take into account the fact that if the Miss World Organisation feels that the contestants have already gone through the most critical elements of the pageant, it is their sole obligation to reject a representative whom they consider to have missed those elements,” she said.

Mrs Chiwenga said efforts by her detractors to taint her image through the media were doomed and that the Trust is healthier than ever.

“Moreover, the perception to destroy or taint my image or that of the Trust through the media is a yesteryear strategy which will not cause us to deviate from conducting our mandate governed by our rules and regulations.

“Many reports have appeared in the Press about the perceived ‘chaos’ within the Trust, but I can assure you that we are doing just fine and our sponsors are quite satisfied with the way we are handling matters so far. Our image is everything and it will not be tainted by trivial events,” she said.

Mrs Chiwenga said questions being raised over the Trust’s decision, first to conduct a fresh event to select a queen after Phiri’s dethronement and then replacing the replacement, Makaya, with the first princess, Hunda, was much ado about nothing.

“As a Trust, we are guided by the rules and regulations that we have set. One of the key critical elements is to exercise utmost fair play. As part of our ground rules, if for any reason the seating queen fails to execute the said obligations she shall be removed from the throne and the Trust shall at its discretion choose another panel of judges that will select a new queen from amongst the top ten. Many a time deputies don’t become the new authority when another fails to execute. We believe in fair play, just like Fifa.

“No one who is not worthy of the crown shall keep it. Miss Zimbabwe was and always will be the backbone of pageants in Zimbabwe. In this beautiful country, it is viewed as the ‘mother of all pageants’.”

The Miss Zimbabwe Trust chairperson said even though she knows that there are more challenges ahead, she will not quit.

“I take challenges as opportunities. I am an optimist. Someone once said ‘it is only pessimists who see difficulties in an opportunity while the optimists see the opportunity in every difficulty’. I am determined more than ever to see Kiki Divaris’ dream come to fruition and when my mission is complete; the Lord Almighty shall and will retire me,” she declared. The Sunday Mail

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