Ex-NRZ workers petition Mnangagwa to fire ‘unqualified and incompetent’ company boss

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By James Muonwa I Mashonaland West Corespondent

A COTERIE of former National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) employees has petitioned President Emmerson Mnangagwa over diminished prospects of resuscitating the collapsed parastatal, describing its general manager as “unqualified and incompetent” to spearhead the parastatal’s revival.

The lengthy petition signed by 25 former workers, challenges Mnangagwa to take stern action against incumbent general manager, Respina Ziyanduko over a litany of allegations which are militating against revamping the grounded company.

Reads the petition: “Your Excellency, we are writing this petition through your esteemed office so that there is restoration of peace, production and revival of the entity and national pride at the NRZ. We still relive your wise words when you commissioned the NRZ Museum as a Heritage Site in Bulawayo in 2020, emphasising the need to preserve the NRZ as a major economic hub for Bulawayo Metropolitan Province and the country, at large.

“It is regrettable that the current general manager, Ms Respina Zinyanduko, has done more harm than good. When the general manager, in her reign so far in both her acting and substantive capacity, fired 1 500 contract workers who had served the organisation for more than 10 years.”

Ziyanduko has allegedly gone on to replace the fired workers with her relatives and friends.

“Whilst everyone thought the idea was to reduce staffing levels for her so-called ‘cost-saving’ and ‘NRZ restructuring’, we were surprised to see the recruitment of her relatives into those posts and given higher grades outside the job evaluation. Literally, she has transferred the NRZ recruitment office from Bulawayo to Bikita – her home area.

“Regrettably, the current general manager has brought a culture characterised by corruption, nepotism, incompetence, favouritism, deception, regionalism and patronisation to the detriment of the national entity.

The serious mischief of her actions is that she has personalised some departments like Audit and Security. These are the watchdog branches for the organisation but she is even using those branches to victimise members of staff.”

She has fired top 20 Union leaders and five managers for questioning the logic of acquiring top-of-the-range vehicles for her “puppet” managers when the lowest worker at NRZ is getting ZW$8 100 per month.

Petition further reads: “We are surprised that this unqualified and incompetent Zinyanduko was appointed substantive general manager after serving less than a year in the NRZ Board. We demand the immediate removal of all unqualified workers employed by Zinyanduko.”

In addition, Ziyanduko is accused of going on useless foreign business trips that are bleeding the cash-strapped organisation.

Opposition Labour Economic Afrikan Democrats (LEAD) president, Linda Masarira, who is also a former NRZ employee, reiterated Mnangagwa must heed advice inorder to revamp the collapsed railway sector.

“Mnangagwa should listen to the voice of axed workers who worked tirelessly for NRZ. As the former workers have rightfully suggested, NRZ needs experienced personnel running the management of this unique institution which has the capacity to turnaround the economic fortunes of our beloved Zimbabwe,” said Masarira.