Wadyajena Grills Permsec, Cottco Boss Over Elusive CEO Contract

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By Anna Chibamu

PARLIAMENT has given Cotton Company of Zimbabwe (Cottco Holdings Ltd) and the Lands Ministry a seven-day ultimatum to announce company acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Pious Manamike as substantive boss or terminate his employment altogether.

Lands and Agriculture Parliamentary Portfolio Committee chairperson Mayor Justice Wadyajena Thursday ordered Cottco board chairperson Sifelani Jabangwe and Lands Permanent secretary John Bhasera to either reject through a letter Manamike’s appointment to the acting CEO post or sign him a contract within the next seven days.

Wadyajena warned Bhasera and Jabangwe that failure to abide by the order would result in the committee summoning them before it to give oral evidence on why they were reluctant to sign the contract.

According to Wadyajena, Manamike has been working as Cottco acting CEO for the past four years, rendering him ineffective as he could not make substantive decisions pertaining to company operations.

Cottco is in a payment crisis with its contracted farmers who are owed over US$1.5 million since last year.

“Next Tuesday, we want a signed contract or a rejection letter. Every parastatal has a substantive CEO except for Cottco.

“Why are you not giving him a contract after the ministry gave you the green light to go ahead with signing his contract,” Wadyajena said.

Board chairperson Jabangwe however assured the committee that Manamike was appointed Cottco CEO and administrative modalities were in place to have the contract signed.

“After the meeting we held with the ministry, we received correspondence from the Permanent Secretary with regards recommendations we had submitted to the ministry. We are now waiting for his (Bhasera) response,” said Jabangwe.

Wadyajena, who is MP for Gokwe-Nembudziya, was not convinced with the response.

“Do you want him to be MD? Why are you going round and round?” Wadyajena said.

Bhasera replied, “Yes chair. Mr Manamike is the MD of Cottco. What is remaining is the finalisation of the administrative processes.”