ACTING President Constantino Chiwenga has moved in to stop the National Social Security Authority (Nssa’s) rotational policy of filling the vacant post of general manager by blocking the recent appointment of Agnes Masiiwa.
NSSA general manager Arthur Manase was suspended in July 2022 and senior executives were supposed to be appointed on rotational basis to fill the position in an acting capacity.
According to reports, this was meant to pave the way for a probe into the affairs of the statutory pension fund.
NSSA director for occupational health Charles Shava was the first to be appointed acting general manager and he was supposed to pass the button to Masiiwa following his appointment by the Nssa board.
On December 29, Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare minister Paul Mavima wrote to NSSA board chairperson Percy Toriro recommending Masiiwa to replace Shava.
“I write to advise that it is time to rotate the acting general manager at NSSA. Shava has served in that position for six months,” Mavima wrote.
“It’s therefore, prudent to find another senior executive to hold that position while the forensic audit is being implemented.
“Previously, Masiiwa had been recommended together with Shava. I therefore recommend her appointment at this time,” he said.
In a folow-up notice to stakeholders, Toriro indicated that Masiiwa would assume the position from January 1.
“I also wish Masiiwa well as she assumes the acting general manager role for the coming period.”
“Her brief is to ensure smooth continuity of business operations and provide leadership at various levels of the organisation’s mandate execution at the same time overseeing finalisation of the audit process already underway. All stakeholders are advised accordingly.”
However, Chiwenga in a letter dated January 3, 2023 addressed to Mavima blocked Masiiwa’s appointment.
In the notice through deputy chief secretary for policy analysis, coordination and development planning in the Office of the President, Willard Manungo, Chiwenga argued that the appointment was a serious violation of corporate governance rules.
“Pursuant to good corporate governance, the honourable acting president advises that nothing should be done to remove the NSSA acting general manager in the midst of the forensic audit processes currently underway,” Manungo wrote.
But there is discontent over the move, according to insiders at NSSA who suspected the hand of Manungo.
“While Manungo’s letter has also sparked debate wherein individuals or parastatal executives cannot surely be in an acting position for more than six months and such as the case with Shava, Chiwenga’s explanations or reasons might not hold water as there are precedents at NSSA and wherein Manase’s prolonged stay (after his initial secondment from the board) and David Makwara’s six months-plus tenure were vigorously challenged,” an insider said.
The insiders said there was no evidence that Chiwenga, who is quoted in the letter was even consulted to veto Mavima’s proposal with the laws clear that in the absence of a substantive chief executive any other senior member can be appointed in an acting capacity.
“This is exactly the reason, and premise on which Mavima’s recommendation — and Toriro’s subsequent newspaper announcements — were made, but the prudent moves were thwarted or torpedoed by forces opposed to Manase’s return,” said the insider.