A NASTY fight is brewing over the ownership and control of the Mr Ugly pageant between Beitbridge-based Lovemore Chonzi and Harare-based David “Apama” Machowa, who both claim to be the rightful owners of the “brand”.
BY WINSTONE ANTONIO
Chonzi, a retired member of the Zimbabwe National Army band, has been fighting Apama over the past few years, arguing that he conceived the pageant in 2009 with the blessings of the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority before Apama seized the concept in 2011.
“Mr Ugly pageant is my brainchild. My heart is bleeding after the concept and trademark was hijacked by Apama without our knowledge,” he said.
Chonzi said he founded the pageant at Pagomo Heights and Leisure Centre with the assistance of Hudson Mhlanga, who was the proprietor, since there was no entertainment in Beitbridge.
“I decided to come up with something of our own in Beitbridge, different from the traditional way of music shows.We hosted the inaugural pageant in 2009 where, Elmas Moses, who was popularly known as VaChiganda, won the competition,” Chonzi said.
He said when he engaged Apama over the matter in 2011, the latter professed ignorance, but he could not pursue the issue through the legal route due to lack of finances.
“What pains me is that I treated him (Apama) as a brother and we used to support him as a dancer in Beitbridge before he relocated to Harare. Unfortunately, he betrayed us by hijacking our ideas without engaging us and today he wants to benefit from a project he did not initiate,” said Chonzi.
Chonzi said if he gets financial assistance he is ready to take a legal route, claiming he has the supporting evidence to stand in the dock defending his concept and trademark.
Apama, however, told NewsDay that his hands were clean and accuses Chonzi of trying to be associated with his success.
“I only know Lovemore Chonzi running Gomo Spot Leisure and Centre in Beitbridge and I was shocked when he sent me a text message claiming that he was the founder of the pageant,” he said.
“If he wants to be part of us he must just come out in the open. But, sadly, I have nothing to negotiate with him as there is no room for him.”