CABINET ministers and top Zanu PF functionaries have entered the agro-processing sector through the acquisition of shares in quoted counters Natfoods and Innscor, the Zi
mbabwe Independent can reveal.
State Security minister Nicholas Goche, Youth, Gender and Employment Creation minister Elliot Manyika, the party’s Mashonaland East chairman Ray Kaukonde, and businessmen Antony Mandiwanza and Kenneth Musanhi have formed a consortium, Takepart Investments, to acquire stakes in large agro-processing firms.
Records at the Companies Registry show that the businessmen are all directors of Takepart.
The acquisitions, analysts said, form part of Zanu PF’s attempts to muscle its way into key sectors of the economy. Members of the consortium have also benefited from the land reform exercise and are expected to consolidate their wealth by creating synergies between farming and agro-processing.
Musanhi is the owner of Musanhi Buses which ply the Harare-Mt Darwin route. He also owns Sabata Holdings and a stake in Dahmer Motors.
Kaukonde owns Amalgamated Motor Corporation and Closelink, a business group with links to TSL.
Natfoods and Innscor two weeks ago issued a cautionary statement announcing the arrival of Takepart Investments.
The statement said Takepart had acquired a 21% holding in Natfoods. “Takepart has since swapped a portion of this holding for Innscor shares, leaving it with a 10% stake in Natfoods,” said the statement.
The consortium has also acquired an 11% stake in Innscor.
Kaukonde has been appointed to the boards of both Natfoods (as deputy chair) and Innscor to represent the interests of the consortium. Musanhi is his alternate at Innscor.
Kaukonde’s appointment makes him the first Zanu PF provincial chairman to become a board deputy chairman of a listed company.
Contacted for comment, Kaukonde who is also Zanu PF MP for Mudzi, said Takepart would operate as an investment vehicle.
“We are not involved in any other business except investment,” Kaukonde said. “We are also looking at consolidating our position in the new venture before considering acquiring stakes in other companies.”
Natfoods is the country’s largest agro-processor of consumer foods and stockfeeds. The company is also involved in bulk supplies of raw materials to livestock and poultry producers, bakers, brewers, fish farms and other food manufacturers.
Innscor on the other hand is the holding company for a consumer-focused group of businesses operating in the food, entertainment, adventure tourism and distribution sectors.
The past two years have seen a number of significant takeovers by indigenous business interests including TSL Ltd, Zimsun, Tedco, Bindura, and Lobels, while Circle Cement Ltd, Natfoods, Interfresh and Innscor Africa now have significant indigenous shareholdings.