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‘Tagwirei wanted to get Rufaro Stadium for 30 years for providing plastic chairs’

Tycoon Kudakwashe Tagwirei through his company Sakunda Holdings wanted to own Rufaro Stadium for 30 years simply for providing plastic chairs but the Harare City Council refused, Mayor Jacob Mafume has said.

The company on Tuesday announced that it had withdrawn its offer to renovate the stadium over what it said was lack of political will to implement the project by the City of Harare.

In a letter to Mafume, Sakunda Holdings Chief Operating Officer Charles Chitambo said the move was also necessitated by “untruthful and malicious (reports) that Sakunda intends to purchase Rufaro Stadium”.

“Following our numerous unsuccessful requests to present to your office our final feasibility to study report and proposed designs for the refurbishment of Rufaro Stadium, we write to express our gravest misgivings on the unfortunate events and communications emanating from your (HCC) office.

“We are shocked and disturbed by untruthful and malicious (reports) that Sakunda intends to purchase Rufaro Stadium, which is a public asset. Nothing could be further from the truth, and we believe you know that.

“The unfounded allegations are grounded on malice and a coordinated attempt to curtail our efforts to contribute to the revival and modernisation of public infrastructure,” reads part of the statement,” read the letter.

Harare Mayor Jacob Mafume
Harare Mayor Jacob Mafume

But Mafume maintained that the fuel giant wanted to provide plastic chairs to get 30 year ownership of the stadium.

““I have no idea what Sakunda is saying. What I understand is that they wanted to get the stadium for 30 years for providing plastic chairs (bucket seats) and when we were in the middle of negotiating that surely a whole stadium cannot go just after someone donates plastic chairs.

“They then went into a tantrum where they threw away the baby and the bath water,” Mafume said.

“What is clear to us is that businesspeople have for long had a parasitic relationship with the City of Harare. People come to Harare with nothing and Harare makes them millionaires and when Harare needs assistance they say give us land.

“We have not put Rufaro Stadium for sale and, therefore, anyone who wants to assist, who wants naming rights to the stadium must enter into a contract of naming rights that is recognisable like the ones we see everywhere in the world, not where we end up losing the whole stadium simply because we asked someone to provide plastic chairs and to assist us.”

Rufaro Stadium is locked and needs renovations. This is playing a huge negative impact on local football, especially Dynamos Football club’s home games that are highly associated with Rufaro and the surrounding Mbare high density suburbs.

The same situation is happening in Bulawayo. In October last year, Tagwirei promised to renovate the Highlanders Football club’s offices.

It is exactly a year now, nothing has been done.

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