FORMER newsreader Supa Mandiwanzira has pocketed cinema giant Rainbow Theatres for an undisclosed amount believed to run into millions of dollars, Indep
endent Xtra is reliably informed.
Contrary to reports in a Sunday newspaper suggesting that Mandiwanzira was on the verge of acquiring Rainbow, Independent Xtra has been told that Mandiwanzira, who also owns Mighty Movies, a firm specialising in visual productions, sealed the deal a few months ago and is already the new boss.
Cinema industry sources last week alledged that Mandiwanzira is being used as a front by an “invisible” hand whom they could only describe as “a powerful banker” who of late has managed to entrench his influence in the media industry following disclosures that he also holds a significant shareholding in a weekly business paper.
“We know for sure that the chap (Mandiwanzira) is a small entrepreneurial fish. There is no way he could have amassed the capital to acquire Rainbow,” a source said. “Strange as it may appear, the journalist is being funded by a banker. That is why nobody really knows much about the deal save for a speculative piece published in the media this week. All we know is that the Rainbow deal is now a done deal and Mandiwanzira for your own information has already indicated to the staff members at Rainbow that he is going to be issuing new contracts, although it is not clear whether or not all of them will be retained.”
Mandiwanzira a few years ago sent tongues wagging after acquiring Mighty Movies, which observers pointed out had been purchased by a third party using him as the face of the company. Reserve Bank governor, Gideon Gono, fallen Information minister Jonathan Moyo and the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) were fingered as the possible hidden players.
Rainbow Theatres managing director Jimmy Pereira on Tuesday refused to be drawn into commenting about the deal. Pereira denied that Mandiwanzira had already acquired the company. “I’m sorry I can’t comment on the issue at the moment,” said Pereira. “It (the deal) has not yet been confirmed, but call me in two to three days time I’ll be having something to say.”
Rainbow Theatres is the country’s leading movie house with a solid asset base comprising among other things auditoriums dotted in major cities across the country. Four of the cinemas, which include the prestigious 7-Arts, the country’s biggest cinema venue with a carrying capacity of 800, are in Harare. Bulawayo and Mutare house two theatres each.
Contacted for comment this week Mandiwanzira dismissed the claims of being used as a front as malicious and said the deal was private and had attracted unnecessary premature media attention. “My view and conviction is that I’m a private member of society,” said Mandiwanzira.
“And my businesses are equally a private affair, therefore I’ve no reason to be discussing any transaction I do in public particularly through the forum of a newspaper. We would like to remain private, and at this point what we are doing must not be of anybody’s interest. We don’t discuss business deals in the media.”