The Parliament of Zimbabwe was told that the state-owned Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (ARDA) had been operating with two board chairpersons and two Chief Executive Officers (CEOs).
This emerged at a parliamentary committee public hearing meeting on ARDA’s operation this week after the Lands and Agriculture Parliamentary Portfolio Committee had ordered Lands Minister Anxious Masuka to justify his recent appointment of a new ARDA board and top management.
Masuka had earlier told the committee he had requested permission from President Emmerson Mnangagwa to restructure ARDA’s board and management, and Mnangagwa had approved.
Last March, Tinotenda Mhiko was appointed by Masuku as the new CEO while Irvine Craig was appointed board chairperson and Lance Jena, deputy chairperson.
However, it emerged during the parliamentary briefing Muntubane Nzima, Johannes Makodho, and William Mbona were still operating as chairperson, deputy chairperson, and CEO, and continued receiving the normal perks.
Masuka admitted the recruitment process had been unlawfully done and pleaded with the parliamentary committee he wanted to restructure the ARDA board and managed but was facing challenges. Masuka said:
I suggested that the board chair (Nzima) and his deputy (Makodho) be removed, and concurrently, I recommend that Irvine Craig and Lance Jena be appointed as ARDA board chairperson and deputy chairperson respectively…
I seek your approval for the board to retire the chief executive officer William Mbona who is now 63-years-old and does not have a valid contract but only a letter of employment written by former minister Agriculture Minister Joseph Made on May 2, 2017.
However, Zanu PF’s Justice Mayor Wadyajena who chairs the Lands and Agriculture Parliamentary Portfolio Committee ordered Masuka to bring documentation to support his appointments.
ARDA is responsible for spearheading the advancement of agricultural production and rural development but the agriculture sector has been struggling for the past two decades.