NRZ gets new board chair

Larry Mavima

Larry Mavima

Prosper Ndlovu, Business Editor
TRANSPORT and Infrastructural Development Minister Joram Gumbo has appointed businessman Larry Mavima as the new National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) board chairman.

He replaces Alvord Mabena, a former NRZ general manager, who was relieved of his duties last November.

Mavima comes on board at a time when the limping giant parastatal needs at least $400 million for recapitalisation. He is also expected to tame legacy debts to different creditors including workers and steer the entity to profitability after years of loss making.

Minister Gumbo introduced Mavima, 63, to the parastatal’s top management and staff in Bulawayo yesterday before conducting his first tour of the company since his appointment as minister late last year.

“I’ve brought in a new board chairman for NRZ, Larry Mavima, to introduce him to the board and top management here,” said Gumbo.

He maintained the composition of other board members while acting general manager Engineer Louise Mukwada also remains in that capacity until further notice.

“If given a responsibility you’ve to make decisions and I’ll make a decision on the general manager. For the time being I’m not talking about him,” said the minister.

Gumbo said the NRZ has a lot of potential and capacity to operate profitably but lacked requisite financing in a generally funding starved economy.

He said his ministry was already engaged in discussions with potential partners but would not be drawn to disclose further details.

“I’ll not tell you who I’m courting but there are about three alternatives we’re pursuing and as we do that we will look for the best partner,” said the minister, urging caution in selecting partners.

He, however, could not suggest a quick fix to the woes facing struggling workers who are owed more than a year’s salary and retrenchees yet to receive their dues but urged continued “patriotism and patience” while measures were being put in place to address their plight.

At its peak, the NRZ used to employ close to 15,000 workers, a figure that has dropped to around 5,000.

Gumbo said the government was exploring all avenues to revamp the NRZ to play its strategic role, particularly in transporting grain to different parts of the country to curb starvation following a crippling drought.

In an interview, Mavima said he was “excited” to be appointed chairman of NRZ.

“What I’ve seen here clearly shows this is a massive organisation that can be restructured and turned around to play an important role in the economy of the country,” he said.

He pledged his commitment to working closely with management, employees, all stakeholders, creditors, customers and government in turning around the company.

Mavima holds a Degree in Business Administration and a Masters in Finance from California University in the United States.

He boasts vast experience in business and corporate administration having worked for top companies in the US after graduation before returning home in the early 1980s.

Locally, Mavima has held different managerial posts in different companies.

The Zvishavane-born businessman is one of the brains behind the Brian and Lawrence Company, which championed the flea market concept in the country in the 1990s.

He holds a stake in Wilderness Safaris which runs lodges in Hwange and Victoria Falls. The former Zvishavane-Runde MP (2008-13) also has shares in Smart Bags (Pvt) Ltd, a plastics manufacturing firm in Harare which supplies milling and seed houses.

Mavima is an active politician and a member of the Zanu-PF central committee.

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  • bob@100

    cde minister we always suspected the only reason you removed ENG mabena was that he was not of your tribe and you confirm it by appointing your homeboy

    • Abel Ntakana

      True, most of the ministers and top officials in government are tribalists whose hate only rivals that of the devil himself. This Mavima dude was employed for such a high profile position because he was once an intern in large companies in America more than 40 years ago. He is also credited with starting a flea market mentality in Zimbabwe and has bottle stores and supermarkets. No wonder why the economy is shrinking. Honestly, history has taught us that huge entities like Zisco, NRZ and Hwange are just too big to be run by someone who grew up herding cattle. Phanini isigogo esimhlophe izikhundla lezi ngoba liyehluleka okuyangisayo. These companies were well run during Smith’s time because they were not being run by politicians. Now they have been reduced into factory shells because people appointed to run them only see them as a pile of scrap metal as opposed to viewing them as assets. This Larry guy has long past his sale by date.

      • nsingo

        lets give him a chance, remember the saying older wine tastes better

        • Gogo Umazambabe

          Not if it is left open. It then tastes like bad vinegar. We all know as we are drinking a 92 year old wine.

          • MakhosiXamu

            No wine is ever new. Khanda khulu.

          • Gogo Umazambabe

            Khambe UXamu uyazini besides lying in the sun?

          • MakhosiXamu

            If yawning is the way you talk, shame sibili.

          • Gogo Umazambabe

            KiKIKIKIKI UXamu uyazini.

          • nsingo

            kkkkkkkkk

        • Abel Ntakana

          The culture of giving unqualified candidates a chance in business does not work. It would have been better to promote someone from within NRZ than engage someone with an unproven record. No time for trial and error at NRZ.

        • Quadro

          If its kept in its old wine skin Yes! this one is old wine in a new skin and soon it will be bitter

        • Top S’gelekeqe

          Yes give him a chance to finish our beloved former Rhodesia Railways. They are not yet done even if it’s already on its knees!

  • Ndaneta

    what about the GM ? surely Mr Minister can you sleep well with your conscience and say “patience and patriotism” ? to workers who are being paid $150 after 2 and half months ? You never referenced your lies about DRC engagement or some of your blue lies……….Why is it whenever workers complain of starvation you come up with your nganos of investors from heaven ? Don’t you have any shame ?

  • GodlwayoMahlabayithwale

    Nxaa intozamaShona savele sabona uxotsha uMabhena

    • MakhosiXamu

      Uphila ngobudlova – njenge ndwangu. The Govt. has the right to appoint anyone on professional lines. Mabhena served his purpose and left. initial he served as GM for donkeys and later again appointed as Chair for another donkey years. These are mere appointees , simple as that. Ivila yilo eliphila nge preferential treatment.

      • Top S’gelekeqe

        You are living in a fantasy world. Ndiyakuzwela!!

        • MakhosiXamu

          …..fantasy world?. Does it exist. Wena uphupha emini libalele.

          • Top S’gelekeqe

            All Gukurahundis are day dreamers. You are no exception!

          • MakhosiXamu

            Day dreaming also affects Dissidents and you no exception.

          • Top S’gelekeqe

            I don’t care. You are an uneducated ignorant idiot. Uthathekile!!

      • Jay Mageba1

        a flea market boss to be chairman of NRZ? no wonder why we are a banana republic

        • Mugavimbi_Naledi

          ‘They are’ …. not ‘we are’ … a Banana Republic. Engela ngitsho icurrency, let a lone okunye esingeke sakubalisa!!!

          and they have an over-supply of okunye esingeke sakubalisa futhi even if we had 9 lives extra!! Bayazehlulekela shame!!!

      • Quadro

        What professional criteria was used here if I may ask?

        • MakhosiXamu

          obviously they are parameters to select members of the board. The minister wouldn’t just pick anybody in the streets.

          • Quadro

            The man is a flea Market brain and has shares in little known entities and has no Engineering qualification ,has never ran a parastatal or sat in the board of a corporate and has no transport experience even running a Youtong Bus and how do we make him in charge of a major transport entity decision making body Huhh!

          • Top S’gelekeqe

            The chairman was picked from the streets; not from the existing board. They are home boys and fellow tribesmen. A recipe for corruption.

      • Top S’gelekeqe

        Appointing a Mwanawekumusha is what you call professional grounds? Firing a seating Board Chairman in a mere three weeks as a Minister; that’s professional to you? Reversing a process that took almost two years within and without Zim after spending thousands of dollars is professional to you? And this is done in a mere three weeks of coming into office? It’s not possible to come to grips with the intracacies of a huge operation like the NRZ to be able to decide in three weeks of being in office who to deploy or fire. That is nonsense. Gumbo decided on that the day he was appointed based on the ethnicity of the incumbent. Period. Call it speculation I don’t care. We all know Zim politics very well!!

        • MakhosiXamu

          Mabhena has been at the helm of that company for a long time. It was time he had taken a back sit. Gumbo and Mabhena come from the same Area- so that tribal talk has no basis.

          • Top S’gelekeqe

            I’m talking about Mabhena as Board Chairman of NRZ not as GM of NRZ. So what do you mean he has been at the helm for a long time?

            Anyone with a shred of knowledge in Corporate Governance knows that the GM and Board Chairman positions are not one and the same and both serve different purposes.

            Mabhena came in as Chairman under Obert Mpofu and that’s not a long time. You seem to be confusing the two roles he has played at NRZ.

            One is operational and executive the other is non executive. Coming from one area does not mean the two are of the same ethnic or language background.

            I know the Midlands province very well because I also come from there. It’s also multi tribal; but that doesn’t mean there is no tribalism. Yes it wasn’t there during our Rhodesian days at Fletcher High until your Mugabe Gukurahundi idiot came with it.

            You wouldn’t even know racism or tribalism even if it hit you in the face, with the way you love twisting issues for your own convenience!

    • Mugavimbi_Naledi

      Izxakaxaka zamaShona lokwehluleka kwabo …. abakuphiwanga shame!!

  • Thando Siziba

    what is the retirement age in Zimbabwe? Only 2 years to go kkkkk

    • Quadro

      When you decide based on favoritism you dont look that far.No wonder why we cant turn around anything

  • chimugoti

    Mabena failed as GM please do not leave on the past. NRZ needs strategist not political literature armatures to stir the fortunes of the company around. Let us not dwell on trivialities and focus on building a better NRZ.

    • Top S’gelekeqe

      Where and how did he fail. Please inform us?

  • Top S’gelekeqe

    “The Zvishavane-born businessman….”; case closed!!!!!!
    What else would one expect? Where does he Gumbo come from? No wonder he fired Mabhena. This is the curse of the African continent; the “Mwanawekumusha disease of tribalism”. Any wonder no explanation from the Minister has been forthcoming for him dismissing Mabhena. You wouldn’t expect him to honestly say he got rid of him because he is Ndebele or is too much of a professional; he would block his corruption tentacles. Now you watch the space – you will see who will eventually be appointed GM!
    This is why Zim’s economy is on its knees. As it is with President Zuma’s case in Mzansi; it is the Minister’s interests that come first – those of the country always come second. This is why Zim Ministers are so intimately involved in State company operations; yet they are only supposed to provide political oversight and policy direction.
    In South Africa, the Board Chairman of State owned entities is appointed from the rank and file of the Board members, not from outside. So they wouldn’t be any need to introduce him to his own Board.
    This Gumbo is talking about seeking companies to partner the NRZ; surely isn’t that the responsibility of the Board, not him? Eish bafowethu; its called Gukurahundi management or is it leadership?

    • MakhosiXamu

      Ndebeles are part and parcel of the Midlands Province. Most Ndebeles especially my brothers in Bulawayo always assume that Ndebeles are found in the city, shame. Induna zesiNdebeleni zikhona eMidlands eg. Chief Mafala/Chief Ngungumbane, EGogwe, Lower Gweru , ELalaphansi. UHlongwane Makhosini hails from Chief Ngungumbane. There are more Ndebeles outside Matland. Mabhena is a Midlander than a Matlander – nxa umuntu waphekwa ingqondo embizeni will always write half baked stories that are senseless. Tribal Trash from a foolish man. As for the rest of article its mere speculation that serves no purpose. This is wastage of space.

      • khu

        you seem to be a good historian sir

        • MakhosiXamu

          I have tried to be historical informed and i do desist from using mere assumptions in my contributions.

      • Mugavimbi_Naledi

        Uyawumana … as per usual!!!
        There is nothing called ‘Midlands province’ except as a colonial construct for divide-and-rule, now perpetuated by this Shona Zimbabwe Ruins masquerading as a serious State …

        And to imagine you have just described YOURSELF fully in your post above.

        You are frozen like a fossil in your thinking and cannot even see the revolution that is happening around you. YOU ARE ALONE in that colonial and tribal mental box ye colonialism and Gukurahundism – still talking about people in terms of ‘where they come from’ and ‘who they are’ – tribally, that is! And I won’t even ‘go at you’ for this limpy ‘analysis’ of yours (or wounded and sick ‘analysis’)!

        Come on jump on to uMthwakazi Freedom train and enjoy celebrating humanity and humanness for themselves!!! Susele wedwa ezhlahleni lengatsheni lamaGukurahundi akho la!!!!

        Or ARE YOU ONE???

        • MakhosiXamu

          You wrote a MASS of Rubbish that is devoid of the truth and the true realities prevailing on the ground. All African countries got their borders from the colonialists. We live in a world governed by laws. All Provinces got their names from the enslavers that you hero worship. You are good dreamer whose tribal ideology borders on insanity. You are the stupid fool on this forum. I am not gangster and I don’t go around soliciting for friends and down right idiots.

          • Top S’gelekeqe

            Are you normal upstairs?

      • Top S’gelekeqe

        Who said Ndebele people are found only in Mthwakazi provinces? Where did you read that? You are uninformed and are running astray into the wilderness instead of engaging on the issues I raised. Too bad; you are too presumscious and are burdened with an attitude problem towards the people of Mthwakazi!

        • MakhosiXamu

          If you happen to know that fact , then why are you narrow minded. Wena ulomkhuhlane , uphathekile engqondweni. You need inyanga zikuphathise ndoda. Uzenza umuntu ongcono kulabanye abantu. You are sick in head. Uyinto efayo njalo ebolayo. It is high time you realise that. Who ever told you that you own other people , destroyed your mental faculties. Even the children you claim – might not be yours. Wena uyinja , Umgodoyi. I don’t have any attitude with anything because its not worth fighting for. Will carry everyone to your grave. Ndoda you are so pathetic. You dream being a big fish or king dictating matters to others. aaaaaaaaa bakithi …..kikikikikikiiiiiiiii. You are pompous for good reason.

          • Top S’gelekeqe

            As to be expected; you have said zero. Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. You have to go back to grade one.

  • Jay Mageba1

    Hahahaha this BAnana republic never ceases to amaze… How can a flea market person run a railway company? this is stupidity at its best from the ever bungling Gumbo. Ufake uhomeboy wakhe to loot funds from NRZ. Now the true picture of vhy Mabhena was chased away is clear.

  • Mugavimbi_Naledi

    Angaphi amaNdebele …..?????? Lilibambe lingatshoni maShona ….!!!

    • MakhosiXamu

      Ulu hlanya lweNutsheni.

    • Inside the walls of Bangladesh

      Is that all you’re good at??

      Ungenzi ukuthi sikhangelelwe phansi ngezinye izizwe wena mani

  • blarazonke

    This seems to be a nepotic and political appointment. This chairman will in turn opt for a homeboy as GM. At least he is not an ex combatant or retired soldier. May be he has it within him, lets wait and find out. The first thing he shld influnce is the cancellation of Obert Mpofu’s scandalous contract with Hwange Colliery.

  • Ndaneta

    Nothing good will ever come out of this current govt ..better wait for 2018

  • Inside the walls of Bangladesh

    Is your CV that impressive??

    • Quadro

      For what I am doing Yes ! and for Him No and for you very doubtful you pick up fights where you supposed to give logic I am Quadro and dont waste time in verbal barrages and nonsensical statements go back to my posts I only argue with people who have substance.I am not the subject of discussion here!

    • Quadro

      i have read some of your responses and you are trying to shift my comment to a verbal insults match.You think you are a king of insults and dare anyone to provoke you.I will leave MaGumede to do a good job she is executing very well with you I will not afford you the opportunity to drag me into your “points seeking and basketball score dream insult match” What has my CV to do with this discussion and the story at hand.Shut up if you have no substance to give and definately get a tutor to make you understand genuine arguments and bring substance on this platform than seek fights where you will not get.If you wanna debate with me over opinion bring relevant issues

      • highly skilled in observation

        I don’t insult anyone, let’s just say I don’t tolerate Bullcrap only!!

  • Top S’gelekeqe

    Gukurahundi Zimbabwe will never succeed because of the Gukurahundi Shona mentality at the top. They believe in force; intransigence and going against the wind in everything they do.

    All these characteristics are anathema to democracy. Everything about them revolves around the “….idya nehama…” mentality. Corruption is what defines their DNA.

    Nothing will ever come right in that country, unless the President is white or a Mthwakazi.

    Never expect a Magafuli from the Shona tribe. I don’t see any in the horizon; not even from the names that are constantly bandied about!

    • The Rozvi

      Anybody who calls non Zulu speakers ShoNas gukurawhindi is a Dzviti. Cattle and women thieves who must give back what belongs to the people of Munhumutapa and answer for deserting Chaka in the 1800s .

  • Tonde

    I know this man personally! He is a good solid principled man of high ethic’s. You Southerners are lucky to have him based in Bulawayo!

    • Top S’gelekeqe

      High ethics and Shona in one sentence? No ways. He is Shona. Impossible!!

  • Mmmm

    No chance for the NRZ ! With this flea market mentality calling the shots= nothing will materialize.What a wasted opportunity!!!

  • Ton van Der Parker

    The only way the parastatals in this country would be profitable will be when professional people are appointed to the boards. Any ” active politicians, members of ZANU PF, central committee and/ or politburo members will not be independent but will have to do what is in the bed interest of RGM, GNM and ZANU PF. This man is already tainted by the fact that he was a Member of Parliament before and is a political appointee