BY CHARLES LAITON
THE Cotton Company of Zimbabwe (Cottco) has suspended two senior managers after they engaged Chimurenga music icon Thomas “Mukanya” Mapfumo to perform the company’s jingles after the musician allegedly passed derogatory comments about President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Agriculture minister Perrance Shiri.
According to correspondences between Cottco acting managing director Pious Manamike and the suspended managers’ lawyers, Chadyiwa and Associates Legal Practitioners, Mapfumo was not supposed to have been engaged to perform the parastatal’s jingles.
The suspended managers are head of corporate services Benedict Mugura, who is also in charge of human resources, procurement, transport and administration and one Marjory Chaniwa, who is the head of operations.
On March 8, 2019, Manamike wrote letters of suspension to both managers and later asked them to show cause why they should not be charged with acts of misconduct.
“It is alleged that on February 25, 2019, you (Chaniwa) were part of the management team, together with Mugura, who hosted Dr Thomas Mapfumo to perform Cottco jingles in Muzarabani business unit without following the established protocols and procedures,” Manamike wrote.
“In committing the above mentioned gross misconduct, you contravened the following section of the Cottco employment code of conduct. Schedule 2; misconduct and sanction: section 2 subsections 3.4 entitled substandard performance.
“Due to the seriousness and gravity of the above-mentioned allegations, you are hereby suspended without pay and benefits in order to facilitate investigations and you will be advised of the outcome of the investigations within 14 days.”
However, Mugura challenged the decision and accused the acting managing director of having been informed of Mapfumo’s participation, but was now professing ignorance.
Mugura said at some point, a meeting was held, motivated by incorrect information that Mapfumo had passed derogatory comments about Mnangagwa and Shiri during which sitting Mugura explained his position.
“In the meeting, I explained my part on how Mapfumo had been engaged. In the same meeting you (Manamike), as acting managing director indicated that, indeed, you had discussed the issue with me at project conception stage and that the issue had further been discussed in the executive committee meeting,” Mugura said.
“Furthermore, you indicated that your intention was to review the process at price negotiation stage. In your view, Mapfumo was likely to bring an outrageous contract bill suggesting you were probably aware of the engagement of Mapfumo. This points to the fact that the move to engage Mapfumo was a collective committee decision, which cannot be conveniently attributed to just two executive members of the team, as is being said now.”
The disciplinary hearing is still on-going.