Fallen hero of business: Mushayakarara

Ron Mutandagayi
Elisha Nyikadzino Mushayakarara, 71, died on Sunday February 15, 2015 at the Avenues Clinic following an illness bravely borne. He was born on April 8, 1943. He leaves his wife of four years Thandiwe Faith Mushayakarara, his sons Valentine Tawanda and Vincent Tauya Garikayi; his daughter Valerie Haruna; grandchildren Kenny, Nakai and Dile and many close friends and business colleagues.

Born and raised in Zvimba, Mush as he was affectionately known was a life-long resident of Zimbabwe.

In his early years, Mr Mushayakarara would help tend his parent’s cattle.

After attending Goromonzi High School from 1958 to 1962, he attended the then University College of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics awarded by the University of London.

He met his first wife who unfortunately passed on in 2006 and Mr Mushayakarara later re-married. A few months after the death of his first wife, he lost his first born son, Victor.

In 1967, he joined the Ministry of Finance in Zambia where he worked until 1981. He rose to the position of Chief Budget Analyst.

He returned to Zimbabwe in 1981 and joined the Ministry of Finance as Deputy Secretary. In 1982, he was appointed to the position of Secretary for National Supplies in the Ministry of Finance. Mr Mushayakarara was later appointed Senior Secretary for Finance in 1984, a position he held until July 31, 1993.

Mr Mushayakarara joined the then FINHOLD Group on August 1, 1993 as Group Chief Executive Officer.

In 1996, Mr Mushayakarara began to restructure the business in an effort to improve efficiencies and enhance productivity.

At that time, Scotfin (Private) Limited operated as the asset finance arm of the Group with its own fully-fledged management.

Similarly, ZIMBANK also had its own structures. It quickly dawned on Mr Mushayakarara that there were opportunities for savings in combining the business units.

Consequently, Scotfin was merged with ZIMBANK to form the Retail Division of the Bank. Syfrets Merchant and Corporate Bank remained as a separate business unit. In addition, a new Corporate Services Department which was primarily responsible for the Group’s Information Services was given a higher profile in an effort to enhance the use of technology within the Group.

Soon the changes that had been effected began to bear fruit.

During this time, ZIMBANK started its branch expansion with the opening of BeitBridge Branch among others.

During 1996, Mr Mushayakarara was instrumental in the formation of Climax (Private) Limited which was a vehicle that was formed by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe in an effort to mop up some non-performing loans that had accumulated at some financial institutions.

The experience of Climax was also taken into account by RBZ authorities in view of the current NPL issues obtaining in the market.

FINHOLD was re-branded ZB Financial Holdings Limited on November 1, 2006 following the acquisition of a majority shareholding in Intermarket Holdings Limited (“IHL”) which was a financial services group that was involved in banking, life assurance and reinsurance services.

During his tenure, the Group spread its footprint to include Continental Capital (Private) (later re-branded ZB Capital) Limited which was involved in venture capital activities and invested in projects including a drinks manufacturer called Shaven Enterprises (Private) Limited, a bank card manufacturer called CARDPRO (Private) Limited and Stratia Investments (Private) Limited which manufactured spirits. Other investments were in NFGC which manufactured water taps and associated items and the Bronsebury Hotel in Nyanga.

Over the years, Continental Capital divested out of all investments as part of its harvesting strategy.

In addition, the Group acquired a 32 percent shareholding in Cell Insurance (Private) Limited in 2007.

An avid golfer, Mr Mushayakarara was a long time member of the Royal Harare Golf Club.

He served as President of the Bankers’ Association of Zimbabwe (“BAZ”) for two terms from February 1, 1998 to March 31, 2000 and again from February 1, 2004 to March 31, 2006.

Mr Mushayakarara was a director of many private and public institutions as follows:

Board Member of CIMAS Medical Aid Society;

Board Member of MARS up to July 31, 2012;

Chairman of the Insurance and Pensions Commission;

Chairman of Mashonaland Holdings Limited from February, 2006 to date;

Chairman of Tobacco Research Board from April 2008 to February 2012;

Chairman of RioZim Limited from April, 2012 to 2014;

Board Member of the then National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (“NOCZIM”); and

Chairman of the National Social Security Authority.

Board Chairman at NSSA from 1995 to 1997.

In addition, he was a Board Member at the TIMB.

Mr Mushayakarara was a well-liked and respected businessperson. In addition to being a sociable, humorous and affable person, he was someone one could confide in. I certainly had the pleasure of picking his brains on a number of issues when he had retired. He always gave his best and wished that everyone succeeded in whatever they were doing.

The Zimbabwean business community is poorer without him.

Mr Mushayakarara was interred at Greendale Cemetery yesterday following a funeral Church Service at the Greendale Methodist Church, in Mitchell Road, Kamfinsa.

Ron Mutandagayi is Mr Mushayakarara’s successor at ZB Financial Holdings

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