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Macheso brand remains unscathed

King of sungura Alick Macheso can do no wrong!
At least according to those willing to marry their brands to Zimbabwe’s 21st century music sales record-breaker, a chart topper of note, winner of countless awards and an entertainer of choice — for many.
For all his shenanigans, the controversy he is embroiled in and the bad publicity following him — Macheso is still of value to his corporate partners.

First to come out in the open was Tinashe Mutarisi, the youthful chief executive of Nash Paints, the company that gave Macheso a US$10 000 singing on fee and a one-year renewable contract for being their brand ambassador.

In an interview with this publication, Mutarisi said as a company they benefited a lot from Macheso as he fulfilled all his contractual obligations like a true professional.
Macheso brand remains unscathed
“Unless those who investigate these cases prove beyond reasonable doubt that he indeed did what he is being accused of, we will not terminate our relationship with him.

“He has been an outstanding ambassador for us, a joy to work with and has helped us launch our new product — the Kochekera Paint Promotion; he fulfils all his obligations to the company. To us there is no better someone to work with and we will let the law take its course until it is obvious that he did something wrong,” said the affable Mutarisi, whose company recently opened two new branches in Masvingo and Gweru.

Maxwell Phiri, the secretary-general for the Zimbabwe Red Cross Society, said he was aware of the allegations being levelled against Macheso and has been following the reportage on the developments and take the accusations seriously. However, he said since it is Macheso’s personal life, they will let the authorities do what they have to do.

“As an organisation we have a robust and effective mechanism in place to monitor and prevent abuse of persons under our care. We will not seek to replace the work of the authorities like the Zimbabwe Republic Police by judging what may or what could have happened.

“In the interest of Red Cross Society we prefer not to speculate on the outcome of investigations being done. The truth shall come out and it is then that we will decide on the course of action,” said Phiri.

Efforts to get a comment from Innscor Group corporate affairs manager Musekiwa Kumbula were fruitless. However, it has been three weeks since the Macheso divorce story and its juicy sound bites came into the public domain and there seems to be no action from the company, whose bread-making division Baker’s Inn has an endorsement deal with the top artiste.

Scandals of this magnitude have been known to cost sportsmen and artistes a leg and arm in corporate deals worldwide. Top golfer Tiger Woods lost watchmaker Tag Heuer, energy drink firm Gatorade, carmaker General Motors and sports company EA Sports, to name just a few, after revelations about his private life shattered his image. Closer to home, South African paralympic champion Oscar Pistorius, whose murder trial is still ongoing, lost his more than US$2 million worth of endorsements a year, after news of his shooting of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp got out.

Could the Macheso issue have something to do with the Zimbabwean corporate culture? Or is Macheso a sacred cow? Maybe the companies are simply employing a wait and see attitude — only time will tell.

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