By Shingirai Vambe.
Rusape- Rusape board of Councillors have resolved to send Town Council Secretary, Solomon Gabaza on a 3 month forced leave following allegations of gross insubordination, misappropriation of funds and incompetency.
After a special full council meeting held yesterday the 12th of May 2020, Rusape Town Chairperson, Lyton Sithole told Post On Sunday that council had resolved to send Gabaza on a forced leave pending investigations.
“It has come to my attention that Rusape Town Council is facing operational challenges that has necessitates an investigation in order to establish the acts on the ground, thus I have sent Gabaza on forced leave with immediate effect from this 11th day of May to the 11th day of August 2020 guided by the Urban Councils Act section 139(3(a),” Sithole said.
In a letter that was tendered to him before he left, Monday morning, Council said Gabaza had poor management skills and service delivery which has led to insulting of councillors by residents, in a purported maladministration manner of council.
Amongst the allegations, Gabaza is being paid for the use of his personal silver vehicle which he got as head of department of finance, but has been seen using the council pool car, the red foton. Sithole added that all the expenses on his personal vehicle were foreseen by the local authority, yet he doesn’t use it for his official duties.
Several allegations have been levelled against the town secretary in a letter which this publication is in position of, and he failed to respond when contacted for a comment.
“The rift of matter was exacerbated by the visit of the taskforce team which led to the demolition of informal market stalls and Vengere bus terminus which was not done in a procedural manner,” Sithole said.
He added that Gabaza was running the show as the accounting officer in single handed manner which is against the law and terms of reference of his employment contract resulting to dilapidating road network, water provision and poor state of the town which was also noted by the visiting ministers.
It is however not a secret that Gabaza was working in a supermarket before coming to Rusape Town Council, having a masters in finance, became a town treasurer and without local governance qualification rose to the position of Town Secretary through a flawed process instigated by former local Government minister, Saviour Kasukuwere and former Makoni Legislator Kudzanai Chipanga.
“On several occasions we have tried to engage with the secretary on various issues but he showed us no respect but pomposity and arrogance. Only recently we assigned him to facilitate us as councillors a meeting with the minister of Local Government, he shot us down citing the long walk through the District Development Coordinator, P.D.A then the permanent secretary before it goes to the minister, in this respond it was second to none” he said.
Sithole said the reason they sought audience with the minister was to discuss several issues which includes his incompetency, insubordination which is politically inclined, and the current demolition program to find out who will be funding the project among other issues.
Post On Sunday contacted deputy minister for Local Government, Marian Chombo, on the same subject matter and she could also not respond, and it remains a mystery on who is funding the renovations following the demolitions which have taken place across the country during the Covid-19 period when resources are scarce and hard to come by.
Under a short notice, out of 10 councillors who then agreed later, this publication took note that Councillor Clever Chimuse was against the move by Sithole and other councillors to send Gabaza on forced leave with reasons known only to him.
Sithole appreciated the previous council which had five councillors from the MDC party and five from the Zanu Pf and he said there was development in the Town, he responded on the basis that there are currently nine Councillors from MDC Alliance and one Zanu pf Councillor and this move was not politically motivated.
Council resolved that an investigation as enshrined in the Urban Councils Act section 100 should start as soon as possible with a committee consisting of two councillors and three technocrats, in Finance, Local Governance and Law.
“The Committee will carry out its duty and do forensic audit as prescribed in their terms of reference and it will give its recommendations on or before the lapse of Gabaza’s three months leave” he added.
Contents of the letter also states that, “We as council wholly believe that if we live your actions unattended, you will reduce this town to a growth point and that autocratic leadership style of intimidation and rudeness attitude, creates animosity between residents, stakeholders and investors to avoid council”.
The investigation and forced leave has left Gabaza with his full benefits but primitive conditions of staying at his known address, not to visit council offices, not allowed to communicate with the DDC, council officials through any means or visit them without a prior notification to the Town Chairperson.
The Town Treasurer, Faniseni Shuwa will be Acting Secretary for the next three months while council is also looking on sending other few staff of council on forced leave for an effective smooth run investigation.