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DeMbare blast City of Harare over “collapsed” Rufaro Stadium renovations deal

Dynamos FC have criticised the City of Harare following the recently “collapsed” Sakunda Holdings’ proposed Rufaro Stadium renovations deal.

At the start of the year, Sakunda and the Harare City Council entered into an agreement which proposed that the fuel company will be granted a long lease for the refurbishment of the stadium to meet the required FIFA standards.

However, the deal suffered a stillbirth after the Kuda Tagwirei owned energy company pulled out of the deal on Tuesday accusing council of reneging on the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the two parties.

In a statement, signed by the company’s Chief Operating Officer Charles Chitambo, Sakunda said: “We are shocked and disturbed by untruthful and malicious allegations 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. These unfounded allegations are grounded on malice and a coordinated attempt to curtail our efforts to contribute to the revival and modernization of public infrastructure.

“We wish to place it on record again that Sakunda did not have any commercial interests in this project, suffice to say that our participation in the same was entirely philanthropic, for the public good.

“Consequently, we would like to hereby notify you of our immediate withdrawal from the partnership.”

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Then commenting on the issue, DeMbare’s spokesperson Tinashe Farawo said: “As Dynamos, we condemn in the strongest terms what is happening at Harare City Council,” he told the media on Friday.

“We approached Sakunda after that three-year sponsorship deal to inform them that we don’t have a home so we sought their help in renovating Rufaro Stadium.”

Farawo who believes the City of Harare has “deliberately” caused the collapse of the deal also said “the club is not happy with what happened and that must not be allowed to continue”.

He also revealed that they “would like to approach the central government to intervene so that Rufaro Stadium is renovated to get back to its glory days”.

Meanwhile, responding to the company’s statement, the Harare Mayor Jacob Mafume said:

“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.

“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,” Mayor Mafume said.