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    Thursday, 14 May 2020

    Tribute to Mudhara Mhunga

                                              The late Liberation Hero, Tanda Tavaruva Mhunga 

    Jeffryson Murisi David Chitando

    If there is anything the people of Masvingo would want to forget so quickly it is the Mhunga Bus Company disbanding. The Tanda  Tavaruva owned bus company was Masvingo itself.
    When Mhunga Bus Company was affected by the reckless printing of useless and valueless bearer cheques Masvingo was left in economic tears. The tears are still difficult to wipe off.
    Mhunga Bus Company controlled the economic activities of Masvingo. When the Mhunga Bus Company coughed, Masvingo’s economy sneezed.


    Every newspaper in Masvingo jostled to write a story good or bad about Mhunga Bus Company or Mr Tanda Tavaruva .A newspaper headline of The Mhunga Bus Company or Mr Tanda  Tavaruva would sell like hot cakes. It was a survival line for newspapers. Mhunga Bus Company was always a big story in town. Who would miss a newspaper with a story of the Mhunga Bus Company or Mr Tanda Tavaruva .Since 2010 when Mhunga Bus Company was no longer as viable as in the early 2000 Mhunga Bus Company stories faded from newspapers. If truth can be told Mhunga Bus Company and Mr Tanda Mhunga Tavaruva became less headline stories .Zimbabweans were all rushing to grab newspapers for the back page to read more about Masvingo United. The rise and brand of football which Masvingo United displayed gave every reason for both local and national newspapers to stampede for interviews with Masvingo "Yuna Yuna" United players and technical team. Which newspaper wasn’t making money from Masvingo United?

    *Masvingo City Council*

    Mhunga Bus Company was the biggest ratepayer in Masvingo City. The company with a fleet of buses which departed Mucheke Bus Terminal to Harare after every 30minutes as the boomgate was opened it meant something to the Council’s coffers.
    The Mhunga Bus Company had three service garages in the heavy industrial area which meant they contributed heavily on water and service charges. The City Council was truly hit below the belt when Mhunga Bus Company stopped operating. The Mhunga bankrolled Una Una was the most reliable user of Mucheke Stadium. The City Council was paid user fees in advance which meant they had advantage of using the money on other pressing demands. When Masvingo United was relegated from the Premier League the milking cow dried up.

    *Education & Sport*

    Mhunga Bus Company as the sponsor of Masvingo United had a culture of sponsoring soccer players to study as teachers. Mr Tanda Mhunga Tavaruva is responsible for signing Taurai Mangwiro from Dynamos as he wanted him to further his educational career. Mangwiro like Joe Kwangwari, Lloyd Hlahla, Maxwell Zero Chambara only to mention but a few were secured and sponsored by Mhunga Bus Company to train as teachers. Since changes in the teachers’ college policies, the institutions have never had any teacher with sublime soccer skills enrolled with them. Taurai Magwiro is one of the most highly qualified soccer coaches in the region courtesy of Mudhara Mhunga. Mhunga Bus Company recruited soccer players from from Ndarama High, Gokomere High and Masvingo Christian College.


    Only one farmer in the history of Masvingo GMB was given a special booking to deliver his maize produce without any interference.
    GMB Masvingo closed all other farmers delivery of maize as they could not handle Mr Tanda Mhunga Tavaruva produce with other farmers. Zbc TV main news crew tracked maize delivery trucks from his Roy Farm .He was a farmer who never depended upon free agricultural inputs. Since Mhunga Bus Company crumbled no other farmer in Masvingo has done better than him.


    Mhunga Bus Company was the largest employer in the City. Thousands were employed as drivers, conductors, hwindis (loaders),mechanics and various other unskilled workers. Mhunga Bus Company benefited other downstream industries with thousands of people getting employment. 


    Mr Tanda Mhunga Tavaruva encouraged his workers to build houses in the City. Many were given interest free loans to build houses. Many benefited from the scheme and the construction industry as well .The negative impact on the Bus Company meant Mr Tanda Mhunga Tavaruva could not continue with the scheme. 


    The most popular soccer Jersey in Masvingo was the Barcelona blue and purple jersey which were also used by Yuna Yuna United. Most flea markets in Masvingo were selling the Barcelona jersey and were making a killing. The demotion of Masvingo United affected soccer Jersey sales. Those who earned a living through flea market business were greatly affected by the economic virus which hit Masvingo United and Mhunga Bus Company. 

    *Banking Sector*

    During the cash crisis of 2007-9 banks relied on the Mhunga Bus Company cash deposits. When Civil Servants queued for salary the messiah was only to make a phone call to Mhunga Bus Company to deposit cash in order to bail out banks. Banks like CBZ would assign two or three bank tellers to Mhunga Bus Company to make on company deposits. Thousands of Masvingo rural teachers would only return home after Mhunga Bus Company had deposited trillions of bearer cheques. 

     Mhunga Bus Company was affected by the bad economic policies of ZanuPF which resulted in hyperinflation. Since that period the Mhunga Bus Company business was never the same again.


    Mhunga Bus Company had some devastating accidents eg Masvingo Teacher's College lost 37 students teachers in a horrific bus accident along Masvingo -Harare highway. Some blamed Mr Tanda Mhunga Tavaruva for the accident with accusations that the accidents were for rituals. I had studied the reported of all major accidents of Mhunga Bus Company 95% of them are blamed by traffic Police on human error. Any accident recorded or blamed on human error it means it was the driver's recklessness or negligence or misjudgement. There is no accident which was recorded as mechanical fault meaning Tanda Mhunga Tavaruva's buses were highly maintained. Zimbabweans must blame the Government of Zimbabwe as its Vehicle Inspection Department which is responsible for certification of drivers is responsible for passing out incompetent drivers. The VID is as corrupt as the Government. This was the major cause of accidents.


    Mr Tanda Mhunga Tavaruva was never an active in politics. His political party affiliation will remain a closed secret. However, since 2000 of Masvingo City’s 10 political and administrative wards nine were always won by MDC. The MDC as a labour backed party benefited from the support of thousands of workers from Mhunga Bus Company. When Mhunga Bus Company collapsed the MDC support base shrunk and Zanu PF was able to grab some wards in the City. Masvingo City ward 10 which was always won by ZanuPF had mainly 4 Brigade voters.

    Mhunga Bus Company collapse’s had great economic, political and social effects on the living standards of the people in Masvingo City. There has never been a businessman since 1980 who had great impact on the lives of nearly every citizen of Masvingo City as Mudhara Mhunga. Rest in peace Chitova Chief Gutu!! It will be a great mistake for Mudhara Mhunga not to be declared a national or provincial hero. The honest and biggest mistake the new Constitution of 2013 did was to leave a political party organ decide a national or provincial hero which every citizen has to constitutionally accept. If an independent board was to decide definitely Mr Tanda Mhunga Tavaruva was/is a hero, there is no doubt about it.

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