Chimurenga music icon Thomas Mapfumo has formally made a report to the police against promoter Max Mugaba over fraud allegations as the saga on his flopped “Peace Tour” deepens.
Mugaba’s Entertainment Republik were the promoters of the tour, which recorded poor attendances and closed with a loss of over $10 000.
In December last year, Mapfumo tabled an ambitious ‘Peace Tour’ across the major cities and towns of Zimbabwe such as Gweru, Bulawayo, Beitbridge, Masvingo, Mutare, Kadoma, Kariba, Vic Falls and Harare. However lack of publicity, with the promoter only making use of social media, and exorbitant high charges saw the musician attracting paltry crowds. This forced the promoters to cancel some of the shows and ultimately led to a loss.
However, Mapfumo believes that he did not make a loss but that Mugaba had duped him out of his money. As a result, this prompted the fraud allegations.Mapfumo’s lawyer Jonathan Samkange made the report at the Harare Central Police Station on Tuesday.
Samkange confirmed the development saying they have already filed charges against Mugaba. “I can confirm that we have filed charges at the Harare Central Police because that is clear fraud. We will be informing you of the latest developments as we go,” he said. Mapfumo said he would go ahead with charges because Mugaba was playing hide and seek.
“Imimi muri kutaura naye kupi iye achinditiza (How are you communicating with him. He has been playing hide and seek with me). I have since instructed my lawyer Samkange to press charges and you can talk to him,” he said.
While Mapfumo reported Mugaba to the police on fraud allegations, his management exonerated the promoter saying the Peace Tour had simply flopped.
Speaking from his US base, Mapfumo’s manager Austin Sibanda said he was astonished by the musician’s actions as the records were clear that they did not make any money from the tour and they were in debt.
“I’m surprised where he (Mapfumo) is getting all those accusations from? We proposed to cancel the tour immediately when the first show did not take place, but Mukanya insisted we had to tour as he wanted to protect his name and also not disappoint fans.
He was updated on every show and how the money was being used during the tour, remember this was our own tour and Entertainment Republik were just managing it on our behalf.
“ They used their own money which we were supposed to reimburse first then share net profit proceeds unfortunately we incurred a loss and this left us in the red,” he said.
Sibanda said he was in touch with Mapfumo, and was surprised when he attacked former publicist Blessing Vava in the local press.
“All I can say is Blessing is a very smart, honest, loyal young man who has volunteered his time for free to Chimurenga Music Co and has gone out of his way by using his own finances travelling back and forth to Zimbabwe to address Chimurenga Music Co issues on my behalf,” he said. Mugabe insists he is innocent and will wait for his day in court. “All the documents are there; we owe people $10 000. I tried to cover up for Chimurenga Music Company debts but Mukanya is pushing me to the edges.
I respect him as our icon. We had even offered, as Entertainment Republic, to build a house for him here in Harare. I am not on the run and if police call me I will go,” he said. He said their transactions were transparent and there was no way he and the musician’s management connived to steal money.“Do we have any money to talk of? All these shows were flops,” he said.
According to documents seen by Business Times, the tour grossed $8 338 against costs of $18 990,97. Last week the Business Times exclusively reported that the musician was in debt following the peace tour and was at one point evicted from his Glen Lorne lodges after they failed to pay for accommodation.