Air Zimbabwe brews shocker

Captain Ripton Muzenda has been appointed as the new Air Zimbabwe chief executive officer. The airline has been operating without a substantive head for the past few years.

Source: Air Zimbabwe brews shocker – NewsDay Zimbabwe August 16, 2016


The airline has been operating without a substantive CEO since the departure of Peter Chikumba when he failed to renew his contract in 2011. Later the post was held first by Innocent Mavhunga and Edmund Makona in an acting capacity.

Muzenda once worked as a pilot at the airline and was also a chief instructor with critics saying he had no management experience to run the flag carrier, which is incurring an estimated $3 million loss monthly.

The fate of Makona could not be ascertained yesterday, with the former acting CEO telling NewsDay that his bid for the top post was unsuccessful.

Makona, who has been acting CEO since September 2013, was one of the five candidates that underwent psychometric tests and interviews last month.

“I attended the interviews and have been advised that I was unsuccessful. I was told that I am no longer the acting CEO,” he said. Before being appointed acting CEO, Makona was head corporate quality, safety and security.

Other than Makona, the interviews were also attended by one Kunaka and captain Oscar Madombwe with insiders saying the trio had been shortlisted for the top post.

Muzenda assumed the reins yesterday though he was not one of the five candidates interviewed last month by the board and a human resources consultancy firm hired to help in the selection process, insiders said yesterday.

Sources said the board felt that the five candidates interviewed did not have the requisite experience and knowhow to give the airline new wings, a move experts said was invalid.

“This nonsense about them being not qualified is a smokescreen to get their candidate in. It’s not genuine. You will most probably find that he is least qualified as compared to those being condemned. If they were to advertise, he will obviously not qualify, so they won’t advertise,” an expert said.

Another source said politics could have influenced the appointment of the new CEO, with indications that a senior politician (name supplied) could have played a key role. Appointments to lead parastatals and State enterprises require political support on top of qualifications.

This is not the first time the airline has brewed a shocker in appointing a CEO. In 2005, Air Zim appointed chemist Tendai Mahachi as CEO. He was suspended a year later alongside divisional director for finance Tendai Mujuru after the planes were grounded due to fuel shortages. He never returned to the airline.

Once one of the best airlines in the region, the national carrier has fallen down the pecking order weighed down by gross mismanagement and political interference. Former Transport minister Herbert Ushewokunze at one time described the airline as “a museum of mismanagement”.

The flag carrier is making monthly losses as it is generating an estimated revenue of $2,65 million against operational expenses of $5,94 million, according to a report by the parliamentary portfolio committee on Transport and Infrastructure Development.


  • comment-avatar
    Joe Cool 6 years ago

    A good plan would be to hire someone who is not a Zimbabwean. Zimbabwean success stories are non-existent – or can someone name me one?

  • comment-avatar
    Fallenz 6 years ago

    “Another source said politics could have influenced the appointment of the new CEO, with indications that a senior politician (name supplied) could have played a key role.”

    Oh, surely you jest… how could that happen in Zimbabwe! Improving the company or the service is not the objective. It’s all political payback.

    If ZimAir were sold to a real airline, perhaps it could be made profitable in 3-5 years with expanded routes, but political appointments without the necessary expertise is no way to “run a railroad”, as they say. Personally, I have flown ZimAir, but never again… not until there’s a professional makeover, and they get rid of the Chinese junk.

    P.S. Mr Joe Cool, the only legitimate success I can name is that the common man-on-the-street has survived to this point… even though his savings is gone, his job is gone, his business is closed, he has no medical care or education for his children, and he can only afford 10w bulbs in his house. Perhaps it’s evidence of Zimbabwean resilience.

    • comment-avatar
      nelson moyo 6 years ago

      How many Zimbabweans have electricty in their houses Fallenz ?

      • comment-avatar
        Fallenz 6 years ago

        Obviously, not many outside of urban areas. But, with the prepaid metering, at least the load shedding has diminished.

        Certainly the low power lighting is a benefit to reducing a family’s electric costs, but of little help for older eyes trying to read small print.

        I do get your point by virtue of the power poles in rural areas with dangling wires that once carried electricity. Just one example of an infrastructure left to rot rather than continuing to be expanded to bring service to more citizens… or even maintained. Many steps backward toward the dark ages.
        Funds stolen rather than services rendered. Just another point of failure by ZANU-PF.

        But, in spite of those failures, the spirit of Zimbabwe to persevere through ZANU-pf’s siege of the nation continues. Technically, not a “success”, but definitely a display of will.


  • comment-avatar
    IAN SMITH 6 years ago

    And how we used to laugh at the countries to the north of us, not knowing that the Black death (plague) was upon us.
    Get a multi-coloured leadership in place to get out of this mud.

    Learning the English language would also help with communications.

  • comment-avatar
    NHAMO DZENYIKA 6 years ago

    Whatever zanu pf hands get hold of ROTS immediately, they are those big flies carrying live worms around

  • comment-avatar
    The Strategist 6 years ago

    In the final analysis, its about knowing what to do and how to do it well, both of which are elusive within our decision makers thinking. All businesses are the same despite their different products and services. Zimbabweans do not know that the airlines is just not about the planes and the routes and the passengers. They do not what business is and because of that, they will bring as many different CEOs as they want and the disaster will persist. They think bringing a pilot is the key and the truth is that the fact that someone was a pilot is not a guaranteed to success because flying a plane is not the same as flying an organisation. And politics is not business!