Trust founder faces boot, vows to stay put


BEAUTIFUL Bulawayo Trust (BBT) founding trustee Darlington Nyika is facing the boot from an organisation he helped found on allegations of undermining the board and making unilateral decisions and personalising the trust.

By Nkululeko Sibanda

Nyika is expected to appear before a panel to answer to his alleged transgressions, less than two years after the trust was formed to promote Bulawayo as an investment destination, with emphasis on tourism.

Sources at BBT said Nyika’s behaviour and dictatorial management style had put the organisation in a spin.

“Everyone appreciates that Nyika is the founding trustee of the organisation. However, it is his style of wanting to be the supreme leader of the organisation at a time when there is a board of eminent persons that is running the institution that is placing him in problems,” a source said.

“He had built a very good brand and brought other people into it that then made it the organisation it has become. The challenge is that he refuses to realise that he is no longer the alpha and omega of the organisation now. He should also submit to the authority of the board that is in place.”

Another source said Nyika was refusing to recognise that he was now just like the other 20 trustees.

“The trustee document does not have a special dispensation for any member. All the trustees that are in the organisation are of equal standing. The new bosses are those in the board who have been mandated to run the institution,” the second source said.

“He (Nyika) should learn and accept that despite the fact that you founded the institution, when you accept other people on board to assist you, you cease to make unilateral decisions. Those that have been thrust into the board become the leaders and you, as the founder, should also submit to the same board, whatever decision the board makes.”

Nyika is accused of making a unilateral appointment of an audit firm without going through the board.

The firm, sources disclosed, was tasked by Nyika to audit how the board utilised US$300 and $13 000 that had been raised by another trustee.

Part of the $13 000, the sources said, had been used to procure maize meal which the organisation donated to Bulawayo Metropolitan Provincial Affairs minister Judith Ncube’s fundraising initiative for the COVID-19 pandemic response, leaving a balance of $10 000.

Nyika, the sources disclosed, also ill-treated fellow members of the trust, threatened board members and trustees, hurled insults at trustees, and also attacked them on public forums and social media.

In a notice to members on April 10, the board said: “Just as Nyika made a request to have the board audited, other trustees made their submissions before the board, levelling very serious allegations against Nyika. The board called Nyika to attend the hearings and make his own submissions. He refused to do so.

“The evidence produced against Nyika was overwhelming and the board sought to remedy this by suspending Nyika from all trust business pending a hearing to be held within 30 days.”

BBT board chairperson Jabulani Sibanda said the matter was being dealt with internally.

“The issue is being held in-house,” Sibanda said.

“There are, indeed, discussions on that matter. There are problems within the institution. There are complaints against the founding trustee. We are seized with the matter as an institution. For now, the matter remains an in-house issue. We will release official statements once we have amicably dealt with the matter,” he added.

Contacted for comment, Nyika said members of BBT were failing to adhere to corporate governance frameworks enunciated in the founding trust document, which he crafted when he sought to establish the trust.

“There are a lot of things as well as structural defects in the organisation,” Nyika said.

“I have sought, and will continue to do so, that there be a review and overhaul of the legal framework of BBT. I believe these are the shortcomings that have landed us in a situation that we find ourselves in.

“One of the things is that the BBT board was improperly constituted. There is need to have people with skill, the requisite experience, as well as qualifications to occupy the office such as a board. I believe we have to remedy a situation where people are handpicked from anywhere to come and run things of an administrative nature.”

Nyika said he was not going anywhere.

“I am the founding trustee of the organisation. If there is anyone wanting to leave, they can leave as they voluntarily joined the institution. I will not hold anyone to ransom and I am staying put,” he vowed.