Harare keen to bring back 'mugojo'

HARARE City Council is proposing to resuscitate beer brands owned by the local authority, in a bid to tap into one of its cash cows.

According to business committee minutes, the proposal would also utilise Rufaro Marketing (Pvt) Ltd properties, chiefly their beerhalls. The opaque beer brands namely Rufaro Mhamba and Buffalo Lager would be back on the market once the proposal has been approved.

Opaque beer which was once popular with Rufaro Marketing tavern patrons was phased out after the struggling municipal business unit folded in 2012.

While Rufaro Marketing was once Harare City Council’s money-maker known for its large township beer halls and opaque beer, it had begun to bleed the local authority until the decision to get rid of it in 2012.

The liquor business unit had been making massive losses, prompting the cash-strapped council to lease the beerhalls.

With the beerhalls being leased to private players, some have begun sub-letting the premises with bars such as Vito in Mbare now housing a pharmacy and tuck shop.

The resuscitation of council’s beer brands, popularly referred to as mugojo. HCC spokesperson Michael Chideme told the Weekend Post that council was currently looking at ways of leveraging on its asset base to ensure that council assets, both tangible and intangible are optimally sweated.

He said the exploitation included its beer brands which have not been in production for years due to various difficulties.

“Judging by the historical performance of the council’s beer brands, there is reason to believe that council can leverage on their strengths. Against this background, management has been tasked to look into how this can be operationalised,” Chideme said.

He said as the proposal was still in its infancy stage it would be premature to say what form the exploitation of beer brands would take. Opaque beer is generally very popular among the locals because it is cheaper than clear beer.—Helen Kadirire

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