Embattled acting Gweru Town Clerk Chikwekwe resigns

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Gweru (New Ziana) –Gweru chamber secretary and also acting as town clerk, Vakai Chikwekwe who was on suspension for allegedly flouting tender procedures, on Wednesday tendered his letter of resignation.

He had served council for six years and five months.

When contacted for comment, acting town clerk Livingstone Churu professed ignorance about the resignation saying he had not received any documentation pertaining to the issue.

Chikwekwe however, confirmed that he had resigned as a council employee and would be pursuing his business interests since he was a lawyer by profession.

In a 15 page resignation letter addressed to Gweru mayor councillor Hamutendi Kombayi, a copy of which New Ziana is in possession of, Chikwekwe, through his lawyer Admire Rubaya said he was resigning with immediate effect “due to continuous persecution, victimization, duress and undue influence exerted by the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) councilors”.

“I hereby notify you that I am resigning with immediate effect from the Employment of City of Gweru as a Substantive Chamber Secretary. It follows that I am also stepping down from the position of Acting Town Clerk for the City of Gweru. This is because l cannot bear the toxic environment at the City of Gweru anymore, the hate against management and in particular myself for standing my ground against unethical conduct by a band of councilors who have been usurping executive powers and failing to appreciate and apply the cardinal rules of the doctrine of separation of powers between councillors and management,” he said.

Chikwekwe said he was not demanding for a “golden handshake” from council but was asking for statutory obligations, and contract of employment with additional amendments made through an ordinary council meeting resolution of 29 December 2017.

He said council owes him a Toyota Fortuner worth US$ 83 453.00 or a figure of US$ 83 453.00 be worked out on pro-rata, commercial stand (500 square metres) and an industrial stand (1 200 square metres), outstanding leave pay, pay in lieu of notice, medical aid, pension and social security benefits.

Chikwekwe gave the local authority seven working days from the date of receiving the resignation letter to act on his demands.

“Failure to hear from you within the next seven working days from the date of receipt of this letter will leave me with no option but to exercise my rights in terms of the law to enforce any statutory and contractual obligations,” he said.

Chikwekwe was suspended without pay and benefits earlier this year for allegedly awarding tenders to Midlands based developers namely Cacas, Wackdrive and Sheasham, to service council land.

Through his lawyers, he argued that he is being targeted by individuals within council for political reasons as he had no authority to award tenders.

Council documents awarding tenders to the three companies were signed by Chikwekwe and the then mayor Dr Josphat Makombe.

Chikwekwe had threatened to approach the High Court to demand the immediate reinstatement of his salary and benefits.

A former Harare regional magistrate, Chikwekwe was appointed the acting Town Clerk in 2019 following the dismissal of the then incumbent, Elizabeth Gwatipedza, who was also on suspension charged with several counts.

Gwatipedza was fired from the local authority after she was found guilty of three charges that included disobeying a lawful order to submit her contract of employment and those of other department heads to the council.

She was also found guilty of gross incompetence in the performance of her work in that she failed to comply with the audit and to supervise the finance department.

Gwatipedza was found guilty of inefficiency in that she refused, failed, or neglected to ensure that council resolutions were implemented timeously, to coordinate departments in the workplace, to discharge the council’s mandate of ensuring service delivery, and generally to run the affairs of the council.

New Ziana

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