THE Zimbabwe Agricultural Society bade farewell to its former Chief Executive Officer, Dr Anxious Masuka, with a celebration of his tenure at the helm of the organisation that was marked by innovative and transformational leadership.
Dr Masuka left ZAS after he was appointed the country’s Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement following the death of Retired Air Chief Marshal Hon Perrance Shiri in July. Dr Masuka, who joined ZAS in 2015, has since been replaced by Engineer Enkelbert Makaure, who took over on an acting capacity.
In his speech during Dr Masuka’s farewell party, ZAS president Mr Ngoni Kudenga acknowledged Dr Masuka’s role in transforming the Society, as he had overseen the process of making it relevant to the current agricultural development imperative while creating an organisation fit for the future. Dr Masuka, had formulated ZAS’ new constitution, with the new widened ZAS mandate being “to promote agriculture and its supporting activities and to facilitate agricultural development in Zimbabwe”.
In 2019, the ZAS rebranded the Harare Agricultural Show to the Zimbabwe Agricultural Show, as it took a more national outlook. Mr Kudenga praised Dr Masuka for his work in the rebranding exercise which saw the show change from “a display platform to an opportunities ecosystem for individuals, informal SMEs and formal businesses.”
He also gave credit to Dr Masuka for the creation of the “Business Interfaces”, a sector-and value chain-based discussion series held during the Show.
“(He) Introduced the Leadership for Enhanced Agricultural Development Series (LEADS) discussions. Among the notable programming achievements is the launch of the biggest shared value project focusing on improving and sustaining rural livelihoods through nationwide artificial insemination of beef cattle, launched in 2017, and complementing government’s Command Livestock, largely funded by mining companies through their CSR activities,” Mr Kudenga said.
The ZAS president also gave mention to the projects spearheaded by Dr Masuka, which included ambitious and massive modernisation of infrastructure projects to transform the Exhibition Park into a Business Hub, a review with the City of Harare of the Local Development Plan and an acceleration in construction of a fuel station inside the Business Hub. Dr Masuka also played an active role in fast tracking the initial planning phase of the construction of the US$20 million shopping mall and 15 000-seater convention centre and hotel. In addition, he also spearheaded the construction of the Convergence Dome, Nelson Mandela Extension and Julius Nyerere Extension Halls, while he was also instrumental in the formation of National Association of Show Societies in Zimbabwe.
Dr Robbie Mupawose, the ZAS Life Vice President and Dr Masuka’s mentor, chronicled his protégé’s decorated professional history, which included service in various boards and leadership in as many organisations.
“Dr Anxious Jongwe Masuka 55 years old, being the first son in a family of 8, holds a BSc Agric (Hons), DPhil UZ/Oslo, has a strong science background, having been a forestry and agricultural researcher for 13 years before becoming the General Manager – Tobacco Research Board, for 11 years to the end of 2012. He is a prolific science writer with over 100 science publications and over 15 books and handbooks on forestry, agriculture, and policy and strategy.
“He is a Founding Fellow of the Zimbabwe Academy of Sciences in 2004. Dr Masuka joined the Zimbabwe Agricultural Society in February 2015 after a two-year stint (2013-2014) as Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer at Ariston Holdings. He has been Chairman – Buy Zimbabwe, Chairman of Board of Advisors – Young Farmers Federation Clubs Zimbabwe, and he has also been on the Boards of Ariston Holdings, SOS Children’s Villages, Manicaland State University and Cold Storage Company, among others before being elevated to his current position as the Minister,” he said.
Dr Mupawose also said that Dr Masuka had won various accolades over the years, while also acknowledging his role in the transformation of ZAS.
“He has won several management awards and in 2015 was selected by the Marketers Association of Zimbabwe as one of the 50 most influential Zimbabweans (non-politicians). Dr Masuka has led the transformation of the Zimbabwe Agricultural Society to make it more relevant to the current agricultural development imperative while creating an organisation fit for the future. This entails a multi- pronged approach,” he said.
The farewell event was attended by the Society’s Executive and Council Members