HARARE – Former chief sponsor of Miss Tourism Zimbabwe pageant, Bigtime Strategic Group, has dumped the pageant and is now channelling resources towards the staging of the Miss World Zimbabwe pageant, the Daily News has learnt.
Miss Tourism Zimbabwe is being run by Barbara Mzembi while Miss World Zimbabwe is under Marry Chiwenga.
Sources close to the deal told this publication that Miss Zimbabwe Trust, organisers of Miss World Zimbabwe and Bigtime Strategic Group have already finalised on the terms of agreement, with the sponsor likely to start financing the Chiwenga-led pageant this month.
Efforts to obtain a comment from Miss Zimbabwe Trust were fruitless as the organisation’s spokesperson Tendai Chirau’s mobile phone was not reachable by the time of going to print yesterday.
Bigtime Strategic Group spokesperson Alson Darikayi neither confirmed nor denied the latest development.
“Possibilities are there considering that it was our wish to see the two pageants, Miss Zimbabwe and Miss Tourism, coming together as one,” said Darikayi.
Bigtime Strategic Group which poured about two million dollars into Miss Tourism pageant last year reportedly pulled out of the Mzembi-led pageant after citing gross financial mismanagement as well as failure to merge with Miss Zimbabwe pageant among other issues.
“We pulled out of the deal mainly to protect our brand as Big Time Strategic Group. We feared the manner in which the pageant was being run might indelibly dent our image,” the Bigtime Strategic Group spokesperson said.
Mzembi told the Daily News yesterday that her organisation is going to respond to the said allegations legally.
“The sponsor has never said anything of that sort to me. He only sent me an e-mail about his intentions of pulling out of the Bigtime Strategic Group-Miss Tourism Zimbabwe deal.
“I only read of the allegations in the media, hence we are going to respond to him through legal channels,” she said.
“I do not know anything about gross financial mismanagement, we once discussed that issue and he saw that all our books were okay. Remember he once said ‘all is well with our books’ so what is the problem now?”
Running under the theme “Celebrating Beauty Through the Eyes of Our Late Icon, Kiki Divaris”, the Miss Zimbabwe pageant grant finale is scheduled for July 22 at Borrowdale Brooke Golf Course in the capital.
The official individual ticket price for Miss Zimbabwe pageant is $300 while corporate tables are going for a cool $3 000.
In a previous interview with this publication, Chirau said the event is going to be televised live on ZBC TV.
“The ticket prices help us in limiting crowds to the event, those who cannot afford to attend can watch it live on ZBC TV,” he said.
Meanwhile, Miss Zimbabwe contestants went into boot camp on July 6.
“So far we have 22 girls in the boot camp in Harare and we are expecting another five girls from the Diaspora to join other models in the camp.
“The girls are undergoing different sporting activities and civic education among others while in the camp. However, only 16 girls will make it to the ramp on July 22,” he said.
This year’s event is a tribute to the Trust’s late patron Divaris for her contribution to the modelling industry in post-colonial Zimbabwe, hence the theme for this year.Sponsor dumps