BY MISHMA CHAKANYUKA
Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) acting CEO Rita Likukuma has been pushed out of the top post barely six months after her appointment, it has been revealed.
Likukuma, who is said to be an ally of incarcerated former Tourism minister Prisca Mupfumira, was appointed in February after the incumbent ZTA CEO Karikoga Kaseke fell ill.
Insiders, however, said she was not popular within the ZTA and did not have support from the board. Givemore Chidzidzi was appointed the acting CEO.
“Givemore Chidzidzi takes over after economist, Mrs Rita Likukuma, who was seconded by the board to temporarily take charge of the organisation’s executive affairs after the chief executive, Karikoga Kaseke, fell ill,” the ZTA said in a statement.
“Likukuma has reverted to her non-executive role in the authority’s board.
“Likukuma had been leading the organisation on an acting basis with effect from the 1st of February 2019.”
ZTA board chairman Osborne Majuru resigned recently protesting against alleged meddling by Likukuma.
Majuru in his resignation letter, claimed that Likukuma was taking instructions from Mupfumira instead of the board.
Auditor-General Mildred Shiri recently exposed serious abuse of funds at the ZTA, which she said happened between 2015 and 2016.
ZTA made numerous “donations” as well as unauthorised contributions to political rallies believed to be for the ruling Zanu PF.
In 2014 ZTA “donated” $50 000 at weddings, 10 tonnes of maize seed and 50 Singer sewing machines.
Some expenditure was only categorised as “constituency rally sponsorship”.
During the period under review, Kaseke’s wife Betty, a former model, campaigned and secured a parliamentary seat as legislator for Kuwadzana on a Zanu PF ticket.
In the report, Chiri also makes note of an undisclosed amount referenced as a donation to an unnamed High Court judge.
In 2015 the authority spent some $4 000 on cellphone bills under the line item “ministry-related expenses”.
Another $10 000 was spent on office furniture, but categorised as social responsibility.
The then Tourism deputy minister Anastasia Ndlovu also received $5 000 in holiday expenses.