The Zimbabwe crisis

Ozais Bvute: the ZCU's loose cannon

Wisden Cricinfo staff

May 4, 2004

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Pommie Mbangwa: the latest target in the sights of Ozais Bvute © Getty Images
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More stories have emerged over the weekend concerning the bully-boy tactics of Zimbabwe Cricket Union board member Ozais Bvute.

Last Friday it was widely reported that he got into a physical confrontation with Stephen Mangongo, the ZCU's chief selector, over the number of black players in the side. Bvute wanted more, and the altercation, which was witnessed by guests of the board as well as security guards, came when Mangongo refused to budge. Some reports said the pair got into "a fist fight", but Wisden Cricinfo learnt from a witness that it was more of an armlock.

Now it emerges that earlier in the day, Bvute stormed into the commentary box at the Harare Sports Club and sacked Pommie Mbangwa, one of the commentators and a former Zimbabwe international. The incident, this time witnessed by several technical staff, came as a result of Bvute being enraged by comments made by Mbangwa about the Zimbabwe side. A source inside the ZCU said that Mbangwa later went to see Bvute and the dismissal was reversed.

Two weeks ago the ZCU announced that Mbangwa had been appointed as a national selector, only for him to turn down the post. It emerged that he he had not been consulted before the media were informed.

According to the ZCU, Bvute, who is chairman of its marketing committee, has the authority to hire and fire commentators. His other roles are less defined. He has been accused by many past and present players of being a virtual enforcer for the Zanu-PF government, and is powerful enough to have recently overruled Vince Hogg, the board's chief executive.

What is becoming clear is that Bvute's antics are not doing the ZCU's attempts to promote itself as an apolitical and independent body any good at all.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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