Wrangle over ownership of Mr. Ugly pageant gets into legal battle
THE search for the most hideous looking man in the country has turned uglier, with the original Mr Ugly organiser accusing Harare organisers of “stealing our brainchild”.
Lovemore Chonzi, the initiator of the Mr Ugly pageant, has said the show was hijacked by greedy people. He said the pageant was a Beitbridge idea that “thieves” from Harare had taken over.
Chonzi was angry about the Mr Ugly pageant that was held in Harare last month, where William Masvinu was crowned the ugliest man in the capital city at a contest held at City Sports Bar.
He won $100 and one night’s accommodation at a lodge for his ugliness. Mr Ugly was inaugurated in 2010 in Beitbridge where, Elmas Moses, popularly known as VaChiganda, won the competition walking away R1 500 richer.
Last year, 30-year-old Austin Mbewe beat off stiff competition from Kudakwashe Chiramba (45) and Chitova Chizhira (39) to win the competition.
Saturday Leisure this week spoke to Chonzi who had no kind words for the organisers of the event. He fingered one David “Apama” Machowa, who organised the event in Harare as a small boy that he would deal with.
“Apama is greedy and is a disgrace. He was a dancer in Beitbridge and then he relocated to Harare. Apama took my concept and made it his. Very soon our legal team is going to approach him. Asatambe nemadhaka pasinamvura anozoshaya anomugezisa,” said Chonzi.
He said he had since phoned Apama and told him that there would be legal proceedings against him.
"I have since phoned Apama and told him a piece of my mind and about the legal proceedings. What he should have done was liaise with me, the Mr Ugly licence holder, and I would have given them the permission to hold the pageant on my behalf, but they did not do that,” said Chonzi.
He said it was unfortunate that Apama, a person they supported, had turned round and betrayed the people who brought him into prominence.
"This boy should remain an artiste and should stop stealing people's ideas. He owes me 10 000 rand for a failed chicken project that he wanted to venture into. We forgave him and then this is how this young boy repays me. Apama is playing with fire," said Chonzi.
He said the idea of Mr Ugly was mooted by a group of people in the border town called the Veranda Boys.
“We thought about the contest as the Veranda Boys. No one thought about it and we wanted to have a 100 percent Beitbridge show that would be held in the border town. But these guys just organise the pageant without our knowledge. They did not engage us and they want to benefit from a project they did not think about,” said Chonzi.
He questioned why all major shows were held in Harare as if it was the only city or town in the country.
“The Winter Jazz festival, Chibuku Road to Fame national finals and the like are all in Harare. All major entertainment is in Harare. Why?
“The competition can have provincial finals, but the national finals will be in Beitbridge because we have the capacity to hold the finals,” said Chonzi.
Contacted for comment the man at the centre of the controversy, Apama declined comment on the issue. He said all they did was apply to the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe and they were granted the permission to hold the finals.
“I was not the one who organised the finals. In any case I cannot comment on any issue. I do not know what Chonzi is saying. We only applied to the NACZ to have the finals and we were granted the permission,” said Apama