MUTARE chamber secretary Cephas Vuta was last week suspended without benefits for alleged insubordination. Vuta faces over 20 charges.

BY KENNETH NYANGANI

Mayor Blessing Tandi confirmed the suspension, but refused to give more details.

“You are, hereby, suspended from council employment without pay and benefits with immediate effect pending a disciplinary hearing,” the suspension letter read.

Vuta on Sunday hit back at town clerk Joshua Maligwa, accusing him of dictatorship.

Prior to the suspension, Vuta said there was a near fist fight after he raised concern over the shortage of face masks for the municipal police.

“Maligwa had always had an agenda against me. He just wanted to get rid of me. These things have been happening between March 2018 and recently over the lockdown period from April to May over the COVID-19 issues,” he said.

“The climax came two weeks ago when we differed about issues of face masks for municipal security officers, as they fall under my department. They were given inadequate disposable face masks and in just a few days, they were used up.

“I raised the matter in a management meeting with the health department, that our guys were being exposed. I was not happy because the health team was coming with used face masks everyday. My guys in the municipal police had no face masks. We were also to provide for Zimbabwe Republic Police officials and soldiers who partner us in some operations.

“Our municipal police officers had challenges in enforcing COVID-19 lockdown issues especially at our located vending sites, as they did not have adequate masks.”

Added Vuta: “As a responsible head, I went to the town clerk’s office and briefed him on the management meeting. He accused me of instigating a strike by the municipal police. I stormed out of his office and we had a scuffle over the issue.”

Council sources said there was bad blood between Maligwa and Vuta.

“The issue was about the tussling of power between the two. We hear that Vuta was more qualified for the town clerk’s job and that alone Maligwa was insecure,” the source said. “Vuta seemed to be more connected at the top than Maligwa.”

Maligwa, who spoke through council spokesperson Spren Mutiwi, said: “First of all, the allegations that the town clerk is a dictator are a personal opinion.

“There is need to appreciate that he is the chief accounting authority of the local authority who manages and guides Mutare City Council in accordance with the statutes and policies laid down by the government of Zimbabwe

“He is result-oriented and lets his foot soldiers preside over affairs of their departments and what he does is to offer advice and suggestion.”

However, United Mutare Residents Ratepayers Trust (UMRRT) said the endless infights at council were hampering service delivery.

UMRRT programmes manager Edson Dube said: “One wonders were money to fund the legal costs by council plus payment of benefits of those fired is coming from. The energies of city managers must be spent on improving service delivery.”

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