Dr Mbizvo answers critics
Assistant News Editor Takunda Maodza’s (TM) interview with Dr Wasington Mbizvo.
TM: To what extent are you involved in Zimdef (the Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund)? Does the law not say a minister is the Trustee and not the secretary?
WM: True the minister is the Trustee, but in terms of the same law, the minister can delegate to the secretary.
TM: How far true is it that Zimdef bought a truck for Zimsec (the Zimbabwe Schools Examinations Council)? Where is the truck, a Mitsubishi Canter?
WM: The person who would know is the ministry’s transport officer, Mr Mudzamiri. All the same, upon inquiring with him, he has confirmed that the truck is currently with Puzey and Payne for repairs. Otherwise, it is invariably in the ministry’s Parking bay or at Zimdef parking bay, depending on usage. You can confirm the availability of the truck by checking with the gate security who records every vehicle that is parked overnight in the ministry.
TM: You supplied pork carcass to Harare Polytechnic and other produce from your Shamva farm. How far true is this? Were you aware that the pork was in a bad state and not suitable for human consumption?
WM: The college has at times bought pork carcass from Woodlands Farm in Shamva which would have been slaughtered, inspected and certified by the Pig Industries Board (who can confirm this – check with the two deputy directors Mr Muza and Mrs Takaendesa). The allegation has never been brought by anyone to my attention nor to that of my farm manager, Mr Hwata. Nonetheless, feel free to check with the Principal of Harare Polytechnic, Engineer Mudondo, for validation and determining when this took place, and if at all this was pork from Woodlands Farm.
TM: What is the correct position regarding Mr Mbudzi (Kwekwe Polytechnic principal who was doubling as an acting director in the ministry)?
WM: Mr Mbudzi comes to head office twice every week since June 2011 as acting director for curriculum and examinations since the departure of the former director, Mr Pesanai, who has since joined UZ (the University of Zimbabwe). At one stage in 2012, following a misunderstanding between him and two officials engaged at Kwekwe Polytechnic, the Civil Service Commission advised me to inform him to go back. I made an appeal to retain him since it was creating an overload on the part of the secretary. Accordingly, he is currently receiving acting allowances from the Civil Service Commission for these. He will continue to act until March 10, 2014 when the new director assumes duty.
TM: Who is paying for Mr Mbudzi’s stay at Holiday Inn (in Harare)?
WM: Mr Mbudzi comes to Harare twice a week. His accommodation (which used to be provided at the Management Training Bureau but ceased after the director finance suggested that he be moved to Holiday Inn) is paid for by the Government through the Department of Standards Development and Quality Assurance. His stay is subject to normal acquittal system and audit by the chief internal auditor and the Comptroller and Auditor-General’s Office.
TM: Why were there changes to the handling of Hexco database? Why was the installation and management of the Hexco database given to one person, moving away from the old system when a team of experts were in charge of it?
WM: The national examinations office was experiencing serious problems that include course codes duplication, old database did not operate on an operating system hence was easily manipulated, had no audit trail, the database was moved on CDs and memory sticks, was only compatible with old printing machines, only kept data of the last input and required up to three months to print a candidature range of 16 000-20 000 candidates among others challenges.
TM: Are you aware that Mr Noah Manjengo, a former human resources employee in the ministry, is now employed by Zimdef? How was he employed there when he is legally a pensioner?
WM: Yes, I am aware of that. At the time of his employment, Zimdef was experiencing serious human resources challenges and did not have a human resources manager. The fund made two attempts to recruit a senior human resource manager without success through adverts in the national press and The Fingaz (Financial Gazette). It was on that basis that the ministry made the decision to second Mr Kajengo to the fund effective 1 March 2012. Mr Kajengo is a senior and experienced HR practitioner.
To the best of my knowledge, there is no law that prevents employment of a retired officer as long as he/she is suitably qualified to add value to the organisation. In fact, the ministry and its state enterprises and parastatals such as Zimche and universities continue to employ retired personnel following the government’s 2006 National Economic Recovery Council Policy to counteract brain drain as is commensurate with section 70(3) of the Manpower Planning Development Act (Chapter 28:02) of 1996.