By Mugove Tafirenyika
Former permanent secretary in the Primary and Secondary Education ministry Sylvia Utete-Masango snubbed a farewell party held for her last week amid reports she was apoplectic with fury over her retrenchment.
Utete-Masango — one of the long-serving officials who was shown the exit door on account of her advanced age — did not pitch up for her farewell party held at the ministry’s head office in apparent protest.
Utete-Masango suggested to the Daily News yesterday that she did not turn up because she felt she had been disrespected by her former employer. Apparently, she wanted a party exclusively for herself, yet the ministry staged a party for her and six other directors, who are her juniors.
“I did not attend because I felt that as an accounting officer of the ministry, I cannot be lumped together with some directors including those from provinces, so really if there is a genuine appetite to have a farewell party for me then it will come,” Utete-Masango said. Primary and Secondary Education minister Paul Mavima was not picking calls when he was contacted for comment.
While the official reason given for their removal from office was that they were due for retirement after reaching the mandatory pensionable age of 65 for government officials, the affected permanent secretaries were largely those perceived to have been sympathetic to the vanquished Generation 40 (G40) faction in Zanu PF.
In an invitation letter dated November 27, Utete Masango’s replacement, former Matabeleland South provincial education director Thumisang Thabela, invited all principal directors in the ministry.
The invitation was also extended to all directors at head office as well as staff to attend the party which was held for two directors and for provincial education directors identified as A Gudo, LT Mudiwa, M Samakomva, SB Mashayamombe, K Mutuwira and K Mudawarima as well.
“Please be advised that the ministry cordially invites you to the farewell party to be held on November 30 at David Livingstone Primary School …” wrote Thabela.
Utete-Masango is among several other permanent secretaries who are being retired, along with Ngoni Masoka (Labour and Social Welfare ministry); George Mlilo
(Transport); Machivenyika Mapuranga (Higher Education); and Melusi Matshiya, secretary for Home Affairs.
Soon after his inauguration after winning the July 30 elections, President Emmerson Mnangagwa initiated a crackdown on civil servants by retrenching dozens of permanent secretaries and other senior bureaucrats as part of efforts to contain a ballooning government wage bill that is chewing over 80 percent of the national budget. DailyNews