Home » Education » Right of Reply By College Lecturers Association to Dr Washington Mbizvo [document]

Memorandum

To: Minister (Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development) -Dr O N Muchena

CC: Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet – Dr M J M Sibanda

Chairperson (Civil Service Commission) – Dr M M Nzuwah

Deputy Minister (Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development) – Hon Dr G Gandawa

Permanent secretary (Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development) – Dr W Mbizvo

Permanent secretary (Media, Information and Publicity) – Cde G Charamba

Director – Quality Assurance and Standards – Eng S Marume

From: Colaz General Secretary – Madovi Nickson (160514)

RE: “Ministry pays out mega allowances “Herald Response by Dr Mbizvo on Colaz letter to the Minister on Hexco

Preamble

The College Lecturers Association of Zimbabwe wishes to respond to the memorandum that appeared in the Herald of May 12, 2014 being an alleged reply to the above cited Herald article and the COLAZ letter to Minister Olivia Muchena.

In summary, Dr Mbizvo’s reply among other issues dwells on:

middot The payment of “outrageous and disproportionate” allowances to a few Hexco members and himself as the permanent secretary and Chairman of Hexco.

middot The prejudice to members of the COLAZ as a result of the above.

middot The resultant insinuation that he is a “corrupt and unethical” public official unsuited to his office as the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development.

middot The deamination of The Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education Sciences and Technology Development and Hexco as public institutions that are poorly governed.

middot In his rebuttal, the permanent secretary blames Colaz, through its General Secretary, Mr Nickson Madovi, for deliberate distortions, omissions and commissions to soil the good name of the Head of Ministry and its Chief Accounting Officer. Colaz therefore, wishes to respond and shed more light on the issues contained in Dr Mbizvo’s response.

middot The Allegations on Mega Allowances

For the record, the general secretary of Colaz (note that he is not the treasurer) did not write about mega allowances in his letter to the Minister hereto attached. The source of such information can only be known by the publishers of the story, The Herald.

Lecturers have never been privy to any information regarding allowances for senior government officials that include Hexco officials.

Colaz is however, chagrined by the chairperson of Hexco’S reference to countries like Australia, United Kingdom and South Africa regarding remuneration of senior Hexco officials and would be happy if his comparative analysis had taken into account the payment of examiners in the same countries.

We hope Dr Mbizvo was also able to find out how the US$292 salaries earned by college lecturers compare with the countries he alludes to.

Permanent Secretaries to our knowledge do not mark examination scripts, while pre-ratification is done in the regions. The US$5 000 Dr Mbizvo signed for can only have been for ratification of results.

We wish to challenge the permanent secretary to avail evidence that Treasury approved the US$700 000 budget as well as justify how this would militate against the alleged abuse of these funds. Again the 37 000 student population referred to in the memorandum is too big a number particularly in the MarchApril examinations session.

Can the permanent secretary provide this critical empirical evidence to support the claim?

Functions like registration of candidates, verification of candidate numbers, spellings, names of course codes and notification of time tables are done by lecturers and we are only learning through this report that it’s the principals who get paid instead.

Can the permanent secretary justify how it is possible for someone who simply issues meal tickets to get an allowance of US$1 600 (as for November 2013 marking session) and the “Logistics Officer” of Kwekwe Polytechnic who received US$2 000, while examiners get less than US$100?

If the permanent secretary disputes this revelation, we challenge him to prove by way of producing payment schedules from all Hexco marking centers.

Corrupt and unethical conduct and suitability to Head Ministry

While Colaz takes no pride in denigrating the head of ministry, there are quite a few issues of misgovernance, for which there is empirical evidence that lay credence to such conclusions.

The wholesale transfer of Colaz national and branch executive members in 2012 is one such example.

Such transfers were in contravention of the Ministry’s own HIVAids at The Place Policy as it separated spouses by in some instances distances of over 600 kilometres, causing untold suffering on the lecturers and their families.

That the labour courts in Harare, Bulawayo and Gweru all at different times ruled against the ministry’s disciplinary action in terms of constitutionality, propriety and natural justice.

The head of ministry, in one particular case has been in contempt of court since October 2012, in spite of the heavy penalty in relocation expenses now running into millions of dollars that the Government will have to pay as ordered by the labour court.

The Ministry is heavily litigated, shedding light on the manner in which manpower issues are mishandled.

In 2011, the head of ministry unilaterally withdrew a Cabinet-approved US$100 monthly retention allowance for lecturers and replaced it with a controversial Production and Pricing Policy (PPP).

In September 2011, he misled the Government and the public by claiming that the PPP would see college lecturers getting monthly allowances of US$2 000.

The PPP has however, only benefitted college principals, Vice Principals, HOD and the college accountants who are taking home aomical figures ranging from US$2 000 to over US$10 000 monthly while lecturers get paltry figures of less than US$100.

As a thank you for the windfall, principals have used the opportunity of graduation and other ceremonies to shower the head of ministry with freebies disguised as tokens of appreciation.

These have included heifers, refrigerators, plasma TVs, generators, sheep, while in polytechnics every department provides “tokens”.

The alleged assignment of Kwekwe Polytechnic principal to carry another portfolio as Principal Director Sdeqa for two years and this after he had flanked an interview for the later post.

About Colaz

Colaz can provide affidavits in which the permanent secretary avers that the union is not registered resulting in a two year de facto ban on Colaz activities in colleges.

We are happy that he has seen the light on this matter and thatcollege principals will stop the victimization of union members.

Colaz spokesperson is Mr Madovi and being the general secretary of Colaz, derives his mandate to speak on behalf of the Union from its membership.

The contestable fact that Mr Madovi has a “mere HND”, as the permanent secretary alleges, does not in any way diminish his capacity to perform his elected role.

As head of ministry, Dr Mbizvo will know that three quarters of lecturers in polytechnics have “mere” HNDs, NDs and NCs. In deriding Mr Madovi over his qualification, he is in effect besmirching the majority of lecturers in polytechnics, including some principals whom he admits at some point in his report to be patriotic and “professional people of integrity” who have demonstrated “superb workmanship”.

In any event, attaining a doctorate is a matter of priority as in case of President Mugabe who has seven earned degrees without necessarily being a doctor in any of them.

More importantly, Dr Mbizvo must be seen to be celebrating the highest qualification offered by polytechnics of which he is the head.

We feel very afraid when the Head of Ministry accuses Mr Madovi of spending “more time crafting documents on anything that is against government and … Hexco”.

As Colaz, we have always been non-partisan and have been happy to work with the Government of the day on quality and governance issues in Government colleges.

The only impediment has been Dr Mbizvo himself, who has steadfastly closed the door to any form of intercourse with the Union notwithstanding our status as a critical stakeholder.

The permanent secretary’s over-the-top diatribe against Mr Madovi is a clear case of shooting the messenger and not the message and we urge him to reign in his emotions if he is to ably expunge the many allegations of corruption and impropriety being leveled against him.

All he needed to have done was to produce the payment schedules for the now infamous meetings instead of venting his anger on Mr Madovi.

Conclusions

We applaud the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development for heeding Colaz’S call to institute a probe into the management of Hexco and indeed other governance issues in the colleges sector.

We acknowledge the permanent secretary’s clamour for internal processes of dialogues and urge him to open his doors to all stakeholders, including Colaz so that newspaper stories will be co-owned and positive.

In light of the attacks on Colaz and the person of Mr Madovi in particular in the permanent secretary’s memorandum, we also request the permanent secretary for Media, Information and Publicity to publish our responses for the nation to judge for themselves as to whether Colaz or Mr Madovi are guilty as charged.

Colaz takes a dim view of the permanent secretary’s attempt to link it with “opposition politics thinking and behavior” we are hardworking, loyal citizens of this country, with a passion for a qualitative and professionally governed manpower development sector, which we believe to be a key factor towards the achievement of the vision and mission of ZimAsset.

We finally wish to challenge the permanent secretary to a press conference where we shall be happy to produce the empirical evidence as per his desire.

Source : The Herald

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