Minister in the dark on town clerk’s suspension

Patrick Chitumba and Munyaradzi Musiiwa

Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister July Moyo said he was not briefed about the suspension of Gweru town clerk Ms Elizabeth Gwatipedza by the MDC-Alliance-led council.

Ms Gwatiringa was suspended on a slew of charges on Tuesday.

In an interview, Minister Moyo said he would look into the issue as a matter of urgency to ensure service delivery was not affected.

“About the suspension of Gweru town clerk, I’m not aware of it, I wasn’t briefed about this alleged suspension and I’m going to look into it,” he said.

Announcing the suspension of Ms Gwatipedza at Town House on Tuesday, Gweru Mayor Councillor Josiah Makombe said the suspension was with immediate effect and was without pay.

Clr Makombe said Ms Gwatipedza faced a number of allegations which included failure to coordinate, monitor and supervise all departments, thereby resulting in employees working in silos which consequently affected service delivery.

He said Ms Gwatipedza was also accused of negligence of duty which resulted in council being prejudiced financially. Without elaborating, Clr Makombe said Ms Gwatipedza violated the Public Procurement and Debt Management Act.

He said she was being accused of continuously exhibiting inconsistency in the discharge of her duties.

Meanwhile, Mr Vakayi Douglas Chikwekwe, who assumed the post of Gweru town clerk on an interim basis, has come under spotlight after it emerged that he allegedly looted more than 4 500 litres of fuel from the cash strapped local authority worth over $70 000.

This publication is in possession of a letter dated September 15 written to Mr Chikwekwe by Ms Gwatipedza alleging that he committed 84 counts of fuel theft after claiming more fuel than what he was entitled to.

It also emerged that Ms Gwatipedza was in the process of suspending him for contravening Section 4 (d) (Theft or Fraud) of the Labour Act SI15 of 2006 when she was suspended on allegations of mismanagement and incompetence.

Mr Chikwekwe directed questions to the public relations officer Ms Vimbai Chingwaramise, who was not reachable.

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