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ZTA goes for two years without substantive CEO

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THE Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) has been operating without a substantive chief executive officer and board chairman for more than two years, a situation that has affected decision making at the authority.

BRIDGET MANANAVIRE

This is at a time Karikoga Kaseke, who suffered a stroke in November 2018 and has failed to report for work since then, is refusing the exit package being offered by the interim board, further complicating the processes to appoint a substantive CEO.

ZTA is the state entity responsible for marketing and the branding of the Zimbabwe destination as well the licensing and registration of tourism players.

Apart from the top positions, other posts affected by the lack of substantive appointments are the managers and directors.

The authority also does not have a substantive board chairperson after the resignation of Osborne Majuru in mid-2019, putting the appointment of a CEO on hold.

The CEO position has been open since Kaseke, who steered the tourism authority for 15 years, suffered a stroke in 2018.

According to section four of the Public Entities and Corporate Governance Act, the board of every public entity shall ensure that the post of CEO of the entity is never left vacant for more than six months.

“The entity’s deputy chief executive officer, if there is one, is appointed to act as chief executive officer; or if there is no deputy chief executive officer, a member of the entity’s staff or a board member is appointed to act as chief executive officer; pending the appointment of a substantive chief executive officer,” the Act reads.

“As soon as possible after being appointed or re-appointed a chief executive officer must comply with section 37, requiring certain disclosures for the purpose of avoiding conflicts of interest.”

“Before appointing a chief executive officer, the board of a public entity shall: publish, in a newspaper circulating in the area in which the public entity concerned conducts its activities, at least two advertisements calling for applications to fill the post of chief executive officer.”

After the stroke in 2018, the authority’s chief operating  officer, Givemore Chidzidzi, acted for about three months before the then Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry minister Priscah Mupfumira appointed Rita Likukuma as the acting CEO from 1 February 2019.

Likuma’s appointment by Mupfumira was controversial and she was at the helm of the authority until August, when Chidzidzi was again appointed to act in that position.

Although there have been some initiatives to keep the tourism sector running during the Covid-19 era, the lack of a substantive management is slowing down progress at the authority.

This is an entity is responsible for the licensing and registration of tourism players in Zimbabwe, investment, promotion, public relations, branding and international marketing of the Zimbabwe tourism destination.

“There is no board chair to guide the appointment of the CEO,” a source at the authority said.

Another source also told The NewsHawks it was a difficult for substantive progress to happen as no one had a clear mandate on their job.

“I understand that the board had an agreement with KK (Karikoga Kaseke) to relinquish his position. But there have been disagreements around his package.

“We also have an acting board chairman and acting board committees. There have not been substantive appointments yet since some of the members left due to resignations and other things. We have acting directors and managers and they have been acting for years as well. The ZTA is in sixes and sevens really. The minister is failing to build a solid case on the person he really wants.”

In an audit report published in July 2019, Auditor-General Mildred Chiri reported that Kaseke (pictured) had been leading the authority without a contact of employment.

“There was no contract of employment for the chief executive. The reference point of the conditions of service for the chief executive was his contract of employment with his previous employer. The implications thereof are no basis for legal recourse in case of disputes hence a contract of employment should be negotiated, documented and signed,” the audit report read.

In the report, management responded, saying that  Kaseke was being  paid in accordance with the instruction from the Secretary to the President and Cabinet, as he had been appointed though the Office of the President , hence his contract was to be deemed to be in existence.

Kaseke’s terms and conditions of employment, according to the report, were supposed to be the same as the one he had while he was at the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe, where he had been transferred from.

 

 

 

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