PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa’s neck tie was yesterday auctioned for $15 000 at the 5th Edition of the Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) Africa Roundtable in Victoria Falls.

The money will be donated to a local hospital in the resort town.

President Mnangagwa who was the guest of honour, officially opened the roundtable whose aim is to create a forum for business, commerce and industry to work together in complementing government policy.

Soon after presenting his speech, the President was asked by the director of ceremonies, Mr Gary Thompson, one of the country’s leading marketing and advertising consultants, to remove his tie for a “ritual”. “Your Excellency Sir, I would like to ask you to loosen up your tie, and remove it totally and give it to me,” said Mr Thompson to President Mnangagwa.

The President removed his tie and handed it over, much to the excitement of hundreds of executives from the private and public sector as well as government officials.

Mr Tafadzwa Musarara, chairman of the Grain Millers’ Association of Zimbabwe bought the tie after beating other contenders whose financial muscle only stretched up to $10 000. “I am excited and overwhelmed. I will not sell it, why should I?” he said.

The President was then handed two brand new ties, one of them a “Donald Trump” with the colours of the United States flag.

He put on the new tie which Mr Thompson said was symbolic of the President’s “Zimbabwe is open for business” mantra. The CEOs were also asked to remove their ties which were put into a box, to show that they were “loosening up and willing to close the distance between businesses and government.”

Also present at the occasion were Ministers Cain Mathema (Matabeleland North) and Mike Bimha (Industry and Commerce), Speaker of Parliament Advocate Jacob Mudenda and senior government officials.