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Mutisi accuses Mandiwanza of threatening him over Dairibord expose

Engineer Jacob Kudzayi Mutisi, a Dairibord Holdings shareholder, has accused the company’s retiring chief executive officer Anthony Mandiwanza of threatening him for alleging that he cherry picked his second wife Mercy Ndoro to succeed him as the boss of the listed company.

Last week, Dairibord announced that Mandiwanza will be retiring from the company with effect from September 30, 2022 after serving the milk processor for 43 years.

But Mutisi objects to the appointment of Ndoro to replace Mandiwanza arguing that it was a breach of corporate governance principles and an exercise of nepotism because she allegedly is a second wife of the retiring boss.

In the latest letter seen by Nehanda Radio, addressed to the company’s board chairman, Mutisi claims that Mandiwanza dismissed his allegations of nepotism in the succession plan accusing him of being disgruntled after losing an interview for a Chief Operating Position at Dairibord.

He denied the accusations and further accused Mandiwanza of threatening him through WhatsApp messages.

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“I am reliably informed that Mr Anthony Mandiwanza has advised you, the chairman and the board, that I applied for a Chief Operating Position at Dairibord and was unsuccessful,” read the letter.

“In my defense, I would like to make it very clear that Mr Anthony Mandiwanza got in touch with me requesting that I submit CVs including my one for ICT board appointments after reading my article on information and communication technology (ICT) experts on company board.

“I then advised the ICT leadership I chair and the ICT professionals at large. That is how Mr Anthony Mandiwanza got hold of my CV, I have the emails to confirm this.

“Mr Mandiwanza is now using my CV as evidence that I applied for a job and failed. Hence I have ‘sour grapes’ that is why I exposed his shenanigans at Dairibord.

“Mr Chairman Sir, please can you ask Mr Mandiwanza when I applied, and furnish you with my application letter and when I was called for the interview, when I attended the job interview and who was present during the interview, including any evidence he may use to prove these false allegations he is peddling.”

Mutisi further stated that “All I am asking is for the board and the current CEO to do the right thing and follow the very corporate governance he preaches. We cannot continue with the Mugabe syndrome where one can impose one’s ‘wife’ in a position of authority.

“I do not think I did anything wrong to request the board to give me answers and the relevant authorities to investigate. Mr chairman and the board please do not demonize me just follow what good corporate governance requires.

“Once again let me emphasise that I did not apply for a job at Dairibord and neither did I ask for any favour from Mr Mandiwanza. My request was made in good faith, so that good corporate governance should be followed, not that there are scores to settle, justice can be served.”

He warned Mandiwanza against sending him threatening messages to his WhatsApp.

“Last but not least please can you kindly ask Mr Mandiwanza to stop sending me threatening texts, there is no need for that kind of behavior,” he said.

Mandiwanza’s phone was not getting through during the time of writing. He, however, had an interview with NewsDay on Tuesday where he denied allegations that he was behind the appointment of Ndoro.

“There are times when you don’t want to respond to idiots because you become an idiot too,” Mandiwanza said.

“A genuine shareholder of a company like Dairibord would go to the board and present his issues. Every company that is listed on the ZSE, and even private companies, has a succession plan.

“Dairibord could not stay without a succession plan. If I did not have a succession plan and (things went wrong) I would be blamed again,” he said.

“An outgoing CEO can’t appoint a successor. He (Mutisi) said I want to come back as chairman, but the appointment of a chairman is done by the board, which is appointed by shareholders. There are lines of responsibility. Shareholders elect a board of directors and hold them accountable.

“You will find that he has not challenged her professional qualifications or her resume. I am surprised that he was comfortable with her as the FD for 13 years, but he can’t be comfortable with her as CEO. How do we do management succession planning?

“You have seen her at analyst briefings where she talks to analysts. It was all part of succession planning. If you want to know details about the Dairibord balance sheet, she has the details,” he added.