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How unrestrained sexual desire ruined former CZI boss Zizhou



HAVING had the world at his feet in the 1990s going into the new millennium, former Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) chief executive officer Farai Zizhou is now an epic example of a man who has catastrophically fallen from grace to grass.


His insatiable desire for intimate pleasure led him into the disgraceful sexual harassment of a subordinate, Rita Mbatha, which has now seen him losing his plush residence in Harare’s Hatfield suburb after she pursued civil damages against him.

During his time at the CZI, Zizhou enjoyed fame as he stood at the helm of the country’s largest business member organisation which played a critical role in promoting industrial development,  economic transformation and using its convening power to influence government policy.

He crafted cutting edge policy analysis and proposals for private sector economic development in the ’90s, which attracted the attention of the late ruler Robert Mugabe.

At one point, Mugabe came close to appointing him Finance minister between 2000 and 2004 when the incumbent was Herbert Murerwa.

Mugabe later settled for Christopher Kuruneri who was relieved by the government of his cabinet position as Finance minister after it was revealed that he spent millions of dollars purchasing two homes in Llandudno, Cape Town, which is a suburb popular with movie stars and wealthy businessmen.

 One of the houses, a six-bedroom double-storey overlooking the beach, was auctioned in February 2011.

Zizhou presided over captains of industry and CZI business membership from the manufacturing, trade, transport and professional services.

CZI membership under his stewardship was also drawn from more than 26 economic sub-sectors, creating an excellent platform bringing together collective experiences for private sector-led economic development.

One of Zizhou’s achievements was ensuring that CZI membership comprised 60% of manufacturing and value-adding industries in Zimbabwe, and 40% from service-related sectors.

Zizhou also revealed that 45% of the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed companies were CZI members, while 77% of multi-national companies operating in Zimbabwe became members of the organisation.

In addition, Zizhou also spearheaded CZI membership to be segmented according to regions through regional chambers dotted across the country.

These regional chambers included: Midlands Regional Chamber, Manicaland Regional Chamber, Mashonaland Regional Chamber and Matabeleland Regional Chamber.

Having chalked up these monumental achievements, Zizhou’s world came crashing down after sexual harassment allegations surfaced.

There was overwhelming evidence too.

In 2021, the High Court awarded Mbatha US$180 000 after finding that Zizhou sexually harassed her between 2002 and 2003.

The NewsHawks understands Zizhou did not have the money to settle and had to settle using his house in Hatfield. The house was however worth more than what the High Court ordered Zizhou to pay, resulting in negotiations between the two parties. Mbatha then paid US$70 000 top up to take full ownership of the house.

In 2021, the High Court’s Justice Martin Mafusire ordered Zizhou to pay damages after a protracted battle.

“The plaintiff says the wheels of justice have turned ever so slowly for her. There can be no denying that. She has been to this court. She has been to arbitration. She has been to the Supreme Court. She is back in this court. She strives for closure,” noted the judge.

“Any lesser mortal would probably have given up. Plainly, the plaintiff is no lesser mortal. Her tenacity and fighting spirit have moved mountains. She is still fighting.”

Mbatha, who was Zizhou’s personal assistant, was claiming US$500 000.

Mafusire noted the claims as follows: “The sexual harassment was over some nine months.It started when she was still on probation. She got employed by the second defendant in September 2002. She got fired in July 2003. It was an unfair dismissal. The first defendant engineered it all. He schemed it. She had reported him for the sexual harassment. He took revenge.”

The sexual harassment involved inappropriate touching; unwelcome offensive jokes; invitation by innuendo to an inappropriate sexual relationship; receiving offensive telephone messages; receiving pornography on the computer; and an attempt to kiss by force, causing an injury on the thigh in the process of resisting.

Several emails from Zizhou to Mbatha were placed on record.

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