Association of Rural District Councils of Zimbabwe (ARDCZ) president Mr Guy Mutasa has come under fire for unprocedurally awarding a hefty retirement package of over $300 000, among other perquisites, to the organisation’s chief executive officer, Mr Rodgers Mozhentiy.
Mr Mozhentiy turned 65 in November 2014, but he was engaged on a two-year contract allegedly renewed by Mr Mutasa, with sources saying he was pocketing a monthly salary of $9 000 including benefits.
His current contract expires at the end of the year.
There are 60 rural district councils in the country’s eight administrative rural provinces.
Documents in The Herald’s possession show that Mr Mozhentiy demanded a package that includes a 5 percent stake in Local Government House, which amounts to $80 000, two top-of-the-range vehicles that include the offer of the one he is using at book value and the awarding of another vehicle he was due to get in 2011.
Local Government House in Harare, believed to be valued at $1,6 million, is being leased to tenants for the association to generate revenue.
Among other benefits the CEO is demanding are: a commercial stand in Chikomba Rural District Council and a residential stand in Nyanga as well as taking all the furniture in his current office.
He is also demanding more than $28 000 from the leave days he accrued, with him remaining on the payroll until the full amount is paid.
Sources in the association said Mr Mozhentiy’s package was not realistic considering that the ARDCZ was failing to provide service including building toilets, drilling boreholes and maintenance of rural dust roads.
Some roads have not been rehabilitated since the country was slapped with illegal sanctions over a decade ago, making them virtually impassible.
“We did not agree that he be given that hefty package. This is taxpayers’ money they are abusing. ARDCZ is failing to provide service to the rural communities,” said a source.
“We will not allow this rot to continue. A new chief executive officer has to be chosen. Salaries for other CEOs are $1 900 with chairpersons earning $170 each,” the source argued.
The sources accused Messrs Mutasa and Mozhentiy of wanting to silence chairpersons from voicing their concerns by claiming that President Mugabe would be the guest of honour when they hold fresh elections in July.
Contacted for comment on why he had appended his signature to such a hefty package, Mr Mutasa said the figure was calculated and agreed on based on the conditions of his employment contract.
Mr Mutasa said the grievances from the affected stakeholders were a way of “demonising” him as he had inherited the conditions of services from the previous national executive.
“This was done in 2014 with the full executive agreeing. There is no way I could have signed without everyone involved,” he said.
“This is not something that was done single-handedly. We consulted professional lawyers to help with the issue and we agreed that we still needed his services.”
Mr Mozhentiy defended his package, saying it was done above board and felt he was being prejudiced considering his immense contribution to ARDCZ.
“It is my submission that it was unfair on my part to have been employed on rolling contracts for a period of 12 years. I say so because the fact that my contracts kept being renewed meant that the work was there and why should this period not be considered,” reads his memo to the association.
Mr Mozhentiy joined ARDCZ in 1993 and was employed on rolling fixed term contracts with him becoming the substantive CEO in 2005. herald