The rise of John Chikura

HARARE - The Deposit Protection Corporation (DPC) recently doubled the initial amount each depositor gets in the event of bank failure from $500 to a maximum of $1 000.

The institution, whose purpose is to compensate depositors when a bank collapses, has in the past 10 years of its existence paid out millions to affected bank clients.

Our Business Editor John Kachembere sat down with the man behind DPC, John Chikura, to discuss a wide range of issues.

Below are excerpts of the interview.

Q: Can you briefly tell us about yourself?

A: I am one person who is currently with the Deposit Protection Corporation as the chief executive, and I sit on a number of boards, for instance I am a director and chairman of Rainbow Tourism Group.

I also sit on the government vehicle, Zamco, set up recently to clean up non-performing loans in the banking sector.

Also, I am a director at Zimleaf, which was taken a lead in the production of Zimbabwe corporate governance and I have been very active in corporate governance, training for Sadc. I am a resource person for the Institute of Directors Zimbabwe , Sadc, the World Bank and the Commonwealth before we pulled out.

My education ended at primary level, I couldn’t go any further. I had to look for a job to fend for the family in Rusape where I worked for different companies such as GMB where I was carrying 90kgs maize bags.

I then left GMB for Rusape service station before moving to Kurima Kwakanaka and Mandeya bus companies as a bus conductor.

From Rusape, I then moved to Harare where I got a job at the shop floor level. It was during this time that I got married.

When my children were old enough to start schooling I decided to go back to school. I studied on my own without getting to class up to MBA level.

Actually my first examination was at “O” Level.

In terms of employment, for my sins I have been involved in setting up of new companies.

In 1987, I was involved in setting up Claff Resources which is now Ashanti Gold Mine in Bindura. I was the first senior executive from Harare to go there to establish the mine. I must confess that I had to move at least 153 graves from the mining site before we could commence operations.

It was a huge exercise as we had to deal with relatives, etc.

By the time I left, we had listed the company on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange.

I was then involved in setting up another one, Southern African Reinsurance company (Sare).

I used to take leave from the mine to set the insurance company. By the time I left, the company was listed on the local stock market. Sare is still there, it’s now FBC Reinsurance.

I then left for the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe with the sole purpose of setting up the DPC.

Q: What have been some of your failures, and what have you learnt from them?

A: My schooling ended at primary level and I realised that life could be better than what it was. I set goals which were too high.

When I started reading and studying on my own, at some point struggling to get books due to family commitments.

I was ambitious to become a doctor and I read chemistry, physics and failed dismally. I mean, how can you do science subjects without getting into a laboratory?

Q: What motivates you?

A: It’s a drive to achieve, a commitment to my own goals. If I have a goal I want to be true to that goal. And in life I strive to make a difference. I don’t set limitations.

I tell people that there are no limitations in life because if you demand from life certain things, you will get them.

Most of us complain that there are no opportunities, but we let the opportunities pass because they come disguised as work.

If I had complained about my situation and said there were no opportunities but I still want to make money then maybe I could be in jail by now.

Whatever the mind of man can comprehend, it can achieve. That has been a very good motivation

Q: How do you generate ideas?

A: I generate ideas every time. Every time I travel, go to a new area I am very observant and ask myself what can I learn, what’s new here and can we apply the same in our country.

At the end of the day, you realise that way I generate a lot of ideas.

Q: What is your greatest fear?

A: My greatest fear is one. Fear of failure. I don’t want to fail. As far as I am concerned you must always achieve your objectives. If I go on a course, I want to make sure that I complete it.

As a result, if say for instance you gave me a topic to present in 10 minutes I spent days and days preparing because I don’t want to be a failure. I don’t want to under-perform or be mediocre in what I do

Q: What are your ideals?

A: The first is integrity. What you see is what you get. In other words, you need to have one face. I try to be someone who if I say yes, I mean yes and If I say no it means no.

The second principle I have cultivated over the years, I don’t worry about mistakes, because I also make mistakes, we are human.

If you observe if I can’t trust you with minute details, how can I trust you with great things? If you tell a white lie often, what conviction do I have that the white lie will not grow into a black lie?

Q: Do you believe there is a pattern to success?

A: Remember I said it pays to be straight, to be honest. One of the biggest principle in business that most people are forgetting because we are in a modern world where technology is changing and most things are changing, but guess what?

You can only make money out of an exchange of goods and services. Anything else is cheating or stealing.

Q: If you could talk to one person from history, who would it be and why?

A: Napoleon Hill. He is very motivating, he is inspiring.

Q: What book has inspired you the most?

A: I have read a number of motivational books such as The monk that sold his Ferrari by Robin Sharma among others.

The essence of the message in all these books is that there’s no need to be jealousy as the universe has enough for all of us as long as you are doing something to attract the money.

Q: What has been your satisfying moment in business?

A: I have had a bit of these moments in business, including starting a mine in the United Kingdom.

Even though I didn’t make any money for myself but when I look back I realised that I experienced personal growth. I am what I am today because of all that experience.

I also have had the opportunity to start the Deposit Protection Board alone and then recruited a driver and other professionals along the way.

Today, we are 27 at this institution and we are doing well.

Q: What are some of the biggest mistakes you have made?

A: I have made the mistake of worrying too much when misfortunes happen. You know the kind that results in you having hypertension and stress among other illnesses.

When misfortunes happen, we should look at opportunities to turn it around.

In 1997, I was involved in a legal battle over a property that I was buying. The process dragged for some time and my wife and I ended up developing hypertension and since then I have been taking pills.

Q: What are your hobbies? What do you do in your non-work time?

A: I enjoy fishing. If I can find the time I am a fisherman. My last catch, about four years ago at Lake Chivero was a carp fish, it was 10 kg.

I was with my wife on the day and we caught about seven with the smallest weighing three kilogrammes.

Comments (5)

Thank you so much for the insight of your achievements Mr John M.Chikura,i always admire your achievements from way back,thanks John for the hard work you and your staff are doing at DPC.

JOE PADDY MUSIIWA - 5 September 2016

All the best Chartered Secretary, you are a star

Professor - 7 September 2016

You are an inspiration my MBA Corporate governance lecturer and Fellow Chartered Secretary.

Joseph - 7 September 2016

One of the few, silent heroes with intergrity and a track record. We respect and honor you Sir. You are an inspiration to many.

Daniel5 - 7 September 2016

One of the few, silent heroes with intergrity and a track record. We respect and honor you Sir. You are an inspiration to many.

Daniel5 - 7 September 2016

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