John Mushayavanhu, the new RBZ Governor has an asterisk to his FBC successes

Leonard Sengere Avatar

Dr John Mushayavanhu (left), Image Credit FBC Holdings

Do you remember how excited we were when we heard that Mthuli Ncube was going to be Minister of Finance? I mean, how could we not, here was a non-politician coming in with a PhD in Mathematical Finance and having worked as Chief Economist and Vice President of the Africa Development Bank.

How did all that work out for us? All I can say is the economy is not where we thought it would be. I think Mthuli would agree with that.

Of course, you could argue he is not really in charge, kind of like how former RBZ Governor Gideon Gono says he took orders from the President. Or you could argue we would be in a much worse place if it weren’t for his austerity measures and aggressive tax regime.

However, even as you argue this way, you are forced to admit that the economy is in tatters. That’s the reality, isn’t it? President Mnangagwa went with non-politicians like Mthuli and Kirsty Coventry, which was good, but it really hasn’t worked out for them.

The worst thing about it is that the whole experience has made politicians of the non-politicians. Mthuli ran for a parliamentary seat and lost.

I mention all this to say, there is a new Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe taking over from John Mangudya at the end of April. Dr John Mushayavanhu comes in as a successful banker with loads of real world experience but this time around the excitement is a bit tampered for me.

John Mushayavanhu

Here is the summary of his profile as given by FBC Holdings,

MBA-(UK) Diploma In Management-(UK), AIBZ

A career banker, John has over 30 years of experience in the financial services sector, gained through senior positions in corporate and retail banking he held with a local multinational bank. He joined FBC Bank as an Executive Director in the Corporate Banking Division in October 1997. After the establishment of FBC Holdings in 2004 he was appointed Managing Director of FBC bank and Deputy Group Chief Executive. John was appointed Group Chief Executive of FBC Holdings in June 2011. He is past President of the Bankers Association of Zimbabwe and he sits on the Boards of Turnall Holdings among others.

Mushayavanhu owns 7% of FBC Holdings. When we look at how he managed FBC, it provides more fodder to the idea that upper management should be owners too to be good stewards.

There is a lot we can argue about but what cannot be disputed is FBC’s trajectory under Mushayavanhu’s leadership. FBC came from relative obscurity to now having the 4th largest loan book in the country.

In terms of share price, FBC stood at around US$8 a share in early 2017 and that has fallen to Z$3200.7 (about US$0.23) in February 2024.

However, FBC has regularly ranked as a top listed company on the ZSE, first getting in the Top Five Listed Companies in the Zimbabwe Independent Quoted Companies Survey in 2018. You can dig deeper into FBC history here.

FBC also got a most lucrative client base when Standard Chartered announced they were leaving the country and they acquired 100% of it.

Mushayavanhu was in charge through all that.

Mnangagwa – ZANU links?

Apparently Mushayavanhu has been friends with President Mnangagwa for decades now. If not friends then business associates at the very least.

The Zuva Petroleum story is probably one Mushayavanhu is tired of hearing about. He acquired a controlling stake in Zuva through his investment firm and that should have been the end of it.

Analysts believe Mnangagwa was involved in that deal and has some shareholding in Zuva. It is believed Mushayavanhu’s investment firm was a front and the actual shareholders were some foreign Mnangagwa allies.

It is also believed that Ketani Joshi was involved in that deal too. This man was one of the founders of FBC and retains “substantial” interests in the organisation. So, I guess it is easy to understand if he and Mushayavanhu work together extensively.

Joshi’s family used to run Zanu-PF businesses and when they helped start FBC, it was all people needed to conclude that FBC was a Zanu organisation in the background. A sentiment that many share today.


It is difficult to not to conclude that FBC is a Zanu asset, especially when you take into account that FBC was the sole bank that handled the financial transactions related to Zimbabwe’s participation in the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

All of the over 11,000 Zimbabwean troops deployed in the DRC were paid through this bank.

You could argue that this exclusive deal helped get FBC off the ground.

Friends rewarding friends?

The above is just the most known story that shows possible links between Mushayavanhu and Zanu and Mnangagwa. It’s not the only one.

The Africa Report plainly states “Mushayavanhu and Mnangagwa were business associates and worked together when Mnangagwa was ZANU-PF’s secretary for administration.”

And apparently, this working together extended to Zanu jobs, “Mnangagwa and Mushayavanhu also worked together in ZANU-PF’s business interests in Zimbabwe and during the Congo War of 1998 to 2000 in the Democratic Republic of Congo,” Africa Report adds.

Looking at this, it feels like Mushayavanhu’s appointment as RBZ Governor is just a case of friends looking out for each other.

Tampered expectations

This all means I have low expectations as Mushayavanhu takes office. Not because he is not a capable banker, no, I believe that he is a very capable banker.

My low expectations have mostly to do with ensuring I don’t end up disappointed. Very capable people that have worked with the Zim govt have failed. I don’t see why this would be any different. I hope it will be but I’m not even crossing fingers.

Then if you’re really cynical you can talk about FBC succeeding under Mushayavanhu’s leadership only because they got lucrative Zanu deals they would not have gotten otherwise.

Whatever the case, I hope Mushayavanhu succeeds in his role as RBZ Governor for all our sakes. At this point we all have to root for him.

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  1. Anonymously Concerned Citizen

    This is a really good piece. Interactive and dare-I-say entertaining? You ask all the right questions and raise valid points. I am one of the cynical ones as you say. Any appointments in this 2nd (more like banana) republic is dubious and invites serious scrutiny. I guess time will tell.

    1. Leonard Sengere

      Time will tell indeed and cynicism is not only understandable, it’s essential. How else can we process the decades worth of evidence we have?

  2. Vision 2030


    1. Munhu Mutema

      It’s all jobs for the boys and nothing else.There will be always arm twisting which Moyo the former minister of finance walked away that got Mugabe infuriated.

  3. Always Off Topic

    Every major thing that is happening, in the 2nd republic, revolves around Number 1. Its not just the moves being made regarding RBZ. More interesting is this Mutapa outfit. Lots of presidential decrees being issued, then there is the appointment of a family member to the finance ministry. The Tshabangu nonsense which has secured two thirds majority for Zanu. I have to say the “machine” is working overtime. The big question is what impact all this will have on the general populace. My gut and past experience tell me we could be in for a hell of a storm.

    Truth be told i am glad to see the back of Mangudya. If the Zim $ is to have any chance of survival, Mangudya needed to go. I believe that there was no way the Zim $ could thrive under Mangudya, his has become the poster child of mistrust, and the wrong person to spearhead the revival of the local currency. With someone new, there is an opportunity to wipe the slate clean and try something different.

    Donot get me wrong, i am not implying that there is hope. I know very well the powers that be only look out for themselves. The rest of us are just NPC’s in the games they play.

    1. Leonard Sengere

      The machine has never been busier. There are two possibilities – it’s getting better or we are so timid they are just openly doing whatever they want. I think it’s more of the second. There’s nothing complicated about most of their operations these days, they are just daring us to ask questions and we are hiding our tails between our legs.

      I’m yet to find anyone mourning the exit of Mangudya. Not even he is mad. He knows.

  4. Anonymous

    ….no faith at all. things will get even worse. its like changing clothes yet its the body that is stinking.

    1. Leonard Sengere

      Good analogy. You’re probably right.

  5. Mukanya

    RBZ operations ceased long back during Gideon Gono’s era and enter John Panonetsa Mangudya, cushioning of the corpse was the strategy and that failed also

    1. Leonard Sengere

      Gono killed it then because he was a wrecking ball that one.

  6. shake shake

    New tortoise on the pole
    the decisions are done at shake shake house
    it’s hard to tackle corruption when you are the source

    1. Leonard Sengere

      Shake shake house?? I’ve heard stories.

  7. Vision 2030

    Mushayavanhu is ED’s son. Are you telling me you guys don’t know that!

    1. Mugabe DNA show

      No we don’t know.. are you the mom

      1. Munhu Mutema

        Vision2030 I didn’t know ,you could be pulling our legs but you could also be Teeling the truth because rumours has it that he has 103 children from different girlfriends.By giving his key post he is securing positions for his children.
        In the 80s these guys were always sloganering “pasi ne nepotism.Corruption and nepotism are now the most horrible twins and they start at top most.

    2. Leonard Sengere

      😂😂😂 I mean, can we say with any certainty that they aren’t father and son? I’m not aware of any evidence to support your claim but I’m also not aware of any disputing evidence.

      1. Cde Disaster

        Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence 😂

        1. Tom Riddle

          hahaha The Boondocks

  8. Velicoraptor

    Great piece. My gut tells me we’re in for a world of pain because these guys coming in itora mari Utd. Short term mindset focused on primitive accumulation. No 1 is funneling all the profits to his address. Looting and pillaging. Gouging of the state in the name of his long standing desire to be the top man. Complete and utter dominance is the desire. Tiripama1 hama dzangu.

    1. Leonard Sengere

      I guess that’s the one thing we can all agree with – tiri pama1. Let’s hope there is some respite in our future, however slight, however short-lived.

  9. Jesus

    FBC share price is not 23usd dont mislead people please. Respectfully

    1. Leonard Sengere

      Respectfully taken. The zeros caused the error. Thanks, it’s sorted now.

    2. Chimedzanemburungwe

      Then tell us the real share price.

  10. Incoming governor

    Well, I admit, this is good journalism. Thanks Leonard, now I don’t get to explain myself. We are oiling the money printers as I type, get ready, I haven’t yet started

    1. Leonard Sengere

      🤣🤣🤣 Good move making sure the printers are serviced before they are about to go brrr.

  11. Retail investor

    You are made an error on your share price. Today’s $FBC closing price was Z$3200 (US$ 0.23)

    1. Leonard Sengere

      Thank you. It’s sorted now.

  12. Retail investor

    You made an error on your share price. Today’s $FBC closing price- Z$3200 (US$0.23)

  13. Godfrey

    Same old. Laboratory economics…experiment 1, 2,3. Some repeat here and there. Same results…failure and decline of the system.

  14. Anonymous

    Any critic of the economic performance of Zimbabwe which does not speak to the effects of debilitating economic santions imposed by western powers and how these caused an unprepared black owned economy, is not a serious analysis. in fact its a paid , dishonesty, racists, colonialist inspired and above all blantantly political. STUPETI

    1. Nyamasvisva

      Well on point Anonymous. Probably that’s why it is difficult to sort the economy, when you have people missing and denying the obvious. All this nonsense of pointing fingers at people who have and are trying against all odds is self defeating. The challenges facing Zimbabwe were the intended outcome of sanctioning the country. And I guess if we want to be honest, the country has done very well considering the powers against us.

      1. Grow up

        Spoken like a true Looter Continua apologist

    2. Anonymous

      Lol! What does a minister being barred from shopping in the west have to do with the economy? If that’s all it took to knock us down then there wasn’t much there in the first place! PUPPETI!

    3. Sir Canvas

      I tend to disagree with those who always blame targetted sanction for the poor performance of the economy.Some of grow up in Rhodesia where Ian Smith busted sanctions and created a jewel of Africa.Smiths’ Rhodesia was under a UN embargo not these Sunday school targetted sanction.

      Sanctions are just a narrative of lazy , corrupt , innovative theiving individuals.
      Looking back at Rhodesia,everything was produced local,TVs,radios , electronic gadgets ,motor vehicles,you name it.We had a better manufacturing economy than countries like Singapore.The only country that we looked upon as manufacturing giant was Japan.China was a long distance away from Rhodesia.

      It’s just that we failed and want to have someone to blame for our self inflicted harm

      1. MutongiGava

        Where you there or you just heard. So why did Smith lose

  15. Anonimasi

    Im always waiting on your pieces Leonard, am writing my dissertation on the feasibility of Gold tokens and I must say no one tackles Zimbabwe’s finance industry unlike you. Am getting 70% of my research from Techzim. Keep up the good work. You better pass the Financial Gazette 😤

  16. Taneta

    Having a degree in mathematical finance… and still tried to tax an already overburdened formal sector!

    Doesn’t matter what degree you have really, common sense seems to be missing.

  17. Anonymous

    This article is biased and below Tech Zim’s objective and factual reporting. If we were to follow this logic it would mean all successful bankers and businesses are successful because of Zanu.

    1. sanction lie

      it dosent take zanu long to infiltrate
      it doesn’t matter what you say about sanctions if you can’t reminder then or bust them after over 23yrs why don’t call it a day and give someone else a chance
      yes you have sanctions saka muchaita sei
      give us a solution not this nonsense

    2. All the King’s man

      Most successful people in Zim are Zanu pf assets papa thts why they r alwys getting away wth murder

  18. John the Boptist

    Yes, capable people have failed under the ZANU gvt, Dr Nkosana Moyo is one notable.

  19. Rusty

    I still wonder how some people still have hope in zanu pf… I can only wonder

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