By Byron Mutingwende
As if un-procedurally firing her from her position as Chamber Secretary was not enough, the Chitungwiza Municipality is adding insult to injury to Priccilar Vengesai by denying her rightful dues on the basis of gender.
Vengesai joined Chitungwiza Municipality in January 2013 as a Chamber Secretary. She is a registered legal practitioner studying towards attaining a Doctorate of Laws in Women’s Rights.
Chitungwiza benefited a lot during her stint with the municipality. She spearheaded transformational institutional policies and was instrumental in curbing illegal land deals thus cutting down the activities of land barons.
During her tenure, Vengesai proved to be a good administrator and strategist. Perhaps her dynamism was way ahead of Chitungwiza Municipality’s time as they failed to recognise her wealth of experience and harness these attributes to the development of the town.
A chain of events led to her dismissal. She fell out of favour with an official in charge of the human resources department after she had revealed that the later was un-procedurally promoted without the relevant qualifications.
In fighting her, the official hired politicians who threatened her with unspecified action. For fear of victimisation, Vengesai is not at liberty to disclose the identities of the culprits.
Due to these events, in 2015, she voluntarily offered to resign but was stopped from doing so by the Town Clerk Dr George Makunde and the Human Resources Manager, Mary Mukonyora.
When the resignation was turned down, Vengesai sought ministerial intervention to no avail despite several follow-ups. Dr Makunde took advantage of the inaction by the local government ministry to victimise her, leading to her suspension and eventual unfair dismissal from work without terminal benefits.
In contrast to such unfair treatment, her male counterparts including the Town Planner, Conrad Muchesa who sought ministerial intervention were reinstated and protected.
Recently, Engineer Maxwell Karenyi was offered a brand-new BT50 Mazda vehicle at a measly $2 400 and $21 000 cash after serving just one year. On the contrary, Vengesai worked for the municipality for two-and-a-half years but had to fight through the courts to get her dues.
After having been awarded the benefits, the Chitungwiza Municipality failed to honour their obligation in terms of the Court order. They instead opted to perpetuate contemptuous actions by blatantly refusing to pay her.
Officials from the Chitungwiza Municipality are now clandestinely requesting Vengesai to withdraw the litigation proceedings (the contempt of court case).
Despite the fact that they should have paid her four months ago, they have made no commitment to date and Vengesai is left with no other option but to fight for her rights at the Court.