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Mugabe’s dairy firm reels under debt

President Robert Mugabe says his Alpha and Omega Dairy is facing an uncertain future due to huge debts and massive theft by management and employees.

A worker at the Gushungo Dairy (Picture by NewsDay)
A worker at the Gushungo Dairy (Picture by NewsDay)

Addressing thousands of restless war veterans at the City Sports Centre on Thursday, the nonagenarian leader admitted that his constant globe-trotting was having a toll on his agri-focused business empire.

“Mamanager hakusi kuba kwaanoita…I can tell you from experience. We have got our Alpha and Omega, just now we have got a debt of $4 million kwakabiwa $40 million,” he said adding that he was aware of the workers’ shenanigans.

“So you have to be there and also I must teach myself that I must be there. In other words, I must have managers I can trust and try to supervise properly. But anyway, it’s recovering very well. It doesn’t matter,” he added.

The milk processing firm — a subsidiary of Gushungo Holdings — has a capacity to process 70 000 litres of raw milk per day.

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Alpha and Omega, which has seen the majority of its former workers being dragged to court on a series of theft charges, is targeting to double raw milk output to 40 000 litres per day by year-end, from the current 23 000 litres per day.

The company produces brands such as Mnandi sour milk and flavours of Appertina yoghurt.

Critics say Mugabe’s failure to pay workers on time was resulting in employees developing an interest to pilfer from the First family’s businesses.

In January this year, an Alpha and Omega assistant truck driver was hauled before the Harare Magistrates’ Courts after he swindled the firm. According to court papers, Tapiwa Manyoni continued to receive his salary long after resigning from the firm.

The recent arrest also comes hard on the heels of another group of 10 people that was arrested in December last year.

The 10 Alpha Omega Dairy employees were accused of stealing dairy products worth $700.

Prior to the arrest of the 10 men, another eight employees had been arrested for stealing from Mugabe’s Gushungo Holdings. Daily News