ZIMBABWE Tourism Authority (ZTA) acting chief executive Rita Likukuma has been booted out on Thursday, Zim Morning Post can authoritatively reveal.
Highly placed sources revealed that she has been relieved of her position because of gross incompetence. Sources also said her appointment violated corporate governance tenets as she also sits in the ZTA board and was therefore unable to discharge her duties without blinkers.
Zim Morning Post ran a series of stories exposing the fissures between management, employees and the acting CEO prompting an extra- ordinary board meeting to be convened.
Board chairman Osborne Majuru resigned in protest of wanton interference by Likukuma.
In his resignation letter, he cited that the ZTA board has been significantly undermined to the extent that Likukuma no longer took instructions from the Board but from the office of the fired Minister Prisca Mupfumira.
“Honourable Minister my view is that the authority of the ZTA Board has been undermined and significantly eroded to the point of rendering the Board ineffective. The Acting CEO no longer takes instructions from the Board but from your office,” he continued.
“The main reason for my resignation is that I genuinely feel that the authority of the Board has been materially undermined especially following the appointment of the Acting Chief Executive Mrs Rita Likukuma. Section 17.4 of the Zimbabwe Tourism Act clearly states that the Authority’s Chief Executive is subject to the direction and supervision of the Board,” he said then.
Mujuru noted that the ZTA Act also provides that Minister may give the Board, not the Chief Executive, directions on matters of policy.
“This arrangement worked perfectly when Dr Karikoga Kaseke was in office but unfortunately things changed when he became medically bed ridden,” Majuru said.
“Honourable Minister my view is that the authority of the ZTA Board has been undermined and significantly eroded to the point of rendering the Board ineffective. The Acting CE0 no longer takes instructions from the Board but from your office.
“The ongoing Skills Audit project is a case in point. Your Board mandated management in its very first interaction at Meikles Hotel (following our appointment) to commission a Skills Audit. We reiterated this position at the inaugural Strategy Retreat and subsequent Board meetings.
“I was surprised when the Acting CEO gave my Board Members less than 48 hours to give their comments on the Skills Audit report from the Consultants via round robin because she needed to report to the Minister (a Board function).
“The Board had waited for this Skills Audit report for months, and we suddenly had to deliberate and give a verdict on a very critical project involving the retrenchment of a sizeable number of employees some of whom have saved the Authority admirably over their working life.
“As a Board we are responsible for the welfare of ZTA employees and we wanted to ensure that the rationalization plan was done with empathy and kindness. Last night she requested that I rubber stamp a press release on the staff rationalization and yet she has not given me a single update since our last Board meeting with regards to progress on the road map the Board gave management to follow in rolling out the Skills Audit implementation.”
“There were parallel instructions from the Board and your office on the Medical Boarding of Dr. Karikoga Kaseke yet it is very clear in terms of Section 17.1 that the appointing authority for the Chief Executive position (subject to the Minister’s approval) is the Board, not the Minister or Cabinet.”
The development gives credence to a series of reports carried by this publication exposing Likukuma’s unpopularity and accusations of Mupfumira handpicking of her unqualified associates and appointing them to top positions.
In an exclusive interview with this publication in Bulawayo she conceded that she was too busy to run ZTA as she had other business commitments.
ZTA communications manager Chief Koti could neither confirm nor deny the development citing that he will comment after consultations with his superiors.