BY PROBLEM MASAU COTTON Company of Zimbabwe (Cottco) has rebranded as two of its senior managers face corruption charges.
The two Cottco bosses, managing director Pious Manamike and marketing and business development manager Maxmore Njanji, were picked up in June by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) over alleged misappropriation of the company’s resources and funds.
The rebranding exercise saw the company changing its logo and board members taking oaths that they would loyally save the company and would not be involved in corrupt practices.
Cottco board chair Sifelani Jabangwe said the rebranding exercise was necessary because the company was moving away from past mal-practices.
“We are moving away from the past where the company would be in the news for wrong reasons. For the first time in many years, we have managed to pay our farmers on time. We have also managed to clear the money we owed farmers from past seasons,” he said.
Government has announced the revival of cotton production by acquiring a controlling stake in the company.
This comes as government, which is a 37% shareholder, seeks to gain 51% shareholding by end of year.
Some farmers in cotton-growing areas had abandoned the crop after prices fell and merchants had reduced input packages citing side marketing by farmers.
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Agriculture deputy minister Vangelis Haritatos urged farmers to cultivate the crop, pledging that government would timely pay them.
“Government has made a commitment to help and pay farmers. I urge those who have abandoned the crop to reconsider their decision because better days are coming,” he said.
Cotton is a strategic crop that is interwoven into the rural economy and the national economy, it is a cash crop for farmers, particularly those in drought-prone areas. The crop provides lint for downstream textile industries and generates export earnings, while the cotton seed is used to extract edible oils for human consumption with the seed residue used in animal feeds.
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