Kombayi says employee did not commit suicide over salary
GWERU – The employee at Gweru Mayor, Councillor Hamutendi Kombayi’s mine who jumped to his death from his employer’s two-storey hotel balcony on Sunday, had initially tried to commit suicide in a hotel room.
Joseph Dominic Gowo, 32, who was employed at Clr Kombayi’s Lalapanzi mine, stormed into the 72-room Midlands Hotel, and committed suicide by throwing himself on the tarmac from the balcony, allegedly in protest over an undisclosed outstanding pay.
Clr Kombayi denied that the suicide was over unpaid salaries.
“I visited the mine on Saturday and realised that the guy’s health was deteriorating and his fellow employees told me that he has been defaulting in his medication. I then left $10 so that he could come to Gweru the following day (Sunday) for him to see a doctor,” he said.
Clr Kombayi said he was shocked when he got the news that Gowo had committed suicide at his hotel adding that indications were that he tried to commit suicide in a hotel room when he later jumped to his death.
“He was a long time employee and we were relating very well. I am still failing to get answers as to why he chose to travel all the way from Lalapanzi to commit suicide at the hotel. We are very saddened by the death but we take solace in that the tragedy did not occur in the hotel room as he intended,” he said.
Gowo worked at the mine as a compressor operator for the past three years and according to hospital cards that Chronicle saw, he had been unwell for some time.
On allegations that the suicide was in protest over unpaid salaries, Clr Kombayi said: “That is not true. The suicide had nothing to do with non-payment of salaries. This does not mean that he was not being owed because everyone in business is struggling.
“You owe someone money yourself and this does not mean the person you owe would commit suicide when you are relating well like what was the situation between ourselves and Gowo.”
Clr Kombayi said the fact that Gowo was offered a room to rest at the hotel when he visited the facility on Sunday meant that he was “more than an employee”
“He was like a son to us and this is why I gave him money to travel to Gweru so that he could see a doctor after noticing his deteriorating health,” he said.
Midlands Hotel general manager Rickie Dabvu said they were in liaison with the now deceased’s family so that they could give him a decent burial.
“We have been with his relatives and as the hotel management; we are mourning together with the Gowo family. We are liaising on how we could assist in giving him a decent burial in his rural home in Lower Gweru’s Mkhuhlani Village under Headman Gobo,” he said.
Dabvu said burial arrangements were yet to be announced. The Chronicle