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Prince Edward School seeks donations for annual rugby festival despite previous sponsorship pledges, sparking questions over financial support.

Prince Edward School Seeks Donations Despite Mwana Group’s Pledge

HARARE — Prince Edward School has issued a call for donations for the upcoming Mwana Group International Schools Rugby Festival, scheduled from April 29 to May 4, 2024. This appeal comes despite the previous announcement by Mwana Group Pvt Ltd, a multinational conglomerate, pledging a significant sponsorship of US$250,000.

Last October, Mwana Group Pvt Ltd held a press conference to announce the launch of the rebranded rugby festival, stating the sponsorship would continue until 2029. The event, previously known as the Cottco Schools Rugby Festival and later the Dairiboard Schools Rugby Festival, was renamed in honor of its new sponsor.

However, in a recent letter to potential donors, the Headmaster of Prince Edward School, Mr. Magodiyo, expressed the need for support to ensure the success of the festival. He stated, “On behalf of the Prince Edward School community, I request donations for the festival to be successful. Any donation, cash or in-kind, will be greatly appreciated and acknowledged.”

The request has left stakeholders puzzled, especially after Kuda Mutenda, Managing Director of Mwana Group and Tournament Director, had assured the media of the conglomerate’s commitment to the event.

“We are proud to take over this franchise for the next five years and rebrand it as the Mwana Group International Schools Rugby Festival,” Mutenda had proclaimed, promising an event that would showcase Zimbabwe’s rugby prowess on the global stage.

Mutenda had further guaranteed that the festival would be executed with Olympic-level professionalism, adhering to international best practices.

“Nothing will be left to chance as Zimbabwe, as a country, will be on show to the whole world,” he emphasized, highlighting the substantial resources allocated by Mwana Group and its co-sponsors to meet world-class standards.

Despite these assurances, the school’s plea for donations has raised questions about the actual financial involvement of Mwana Group. An anonymous stakeholder criticized the situation, suggesting that the festival has become more about gaining political access than celebrating rugby. “Prominent corporate names have avoided the festival, leaving the hosting school financially burdened,” the stakeholder commented.

The controversy has sparked debate over the true intentions behind the festival, with some questioning whether it serves as a platform for the organizer’s personal political ambitions rather than a genuine sporting event.