Saturday, April 30, 2011

Air Zimbabwe chairman Jonathan Kadzura quits Air Zimbabwe?

Air Zimbabwe chairman Jonathan Kadzura hangs in the balance as he has reportedly quit the troubled airline amid talk that he had fallen out of favour with Transport minister Nicholas Goche over the recent strike by the airline’s pilots.
Transport minister Nicholas Goche, to whom Kadzura is supposed to have submitted his resignation, could neither confirm nor deny speculation surrounding Kadzura’s tenure.
“You should ask him (Kadzura) on whether he has resigned or not,” he said in a telephone interview yesterday.
Kadzura gave a veiled response to businessdigest’s inquiry: “I haven’t really done that. I have heard that. But you can’t keep such news away from the public.”
However, impeccable sources within the aviation industry said Kadzura had tendered his resignation, but Goche had turned it down.   
The sources said Kadzura threw in the towel as the national carrier’s chair, frustrated that he was bypassed twice during critical meetings to resolve the pilots’ crippling job action.
The sources said the embattled Air Zimbabwe chair, who has witnessed two paralysing strikes within a space of six months since his appointment in 2009, tendered his resignation after government by-passed him and directly struck a deal with the pilots on April 14.
Goche, according to sources, did not accept the resignation although he is understood to have already lined up former Air Zimbabwe acting CEO Oscar Madombwe or ZTA chief Karikoga Kaseke to succeed Kadzura.
Kadzura is said to have fallen out favour with Goche over the manner in which he handled the strike. He was consistently quoted as saying the airline had no cash to meet the financial obligations, a development that is understood to have irked the pilots.
Kadzura, previously vice chairman, succeeded Mike Bimha as chairman after the former chair was appointed Industry and Commerce deputy minister at the formation of the inclusive government two years ago.
Information gathered by businessdigest indicates that at meetings convened last September to save the financially beleaguered airline Captain Courage Munyanyiwa represented the pilots, Patson Mbiriri stood in for
the shareholder (government) while immediate past Air Zimbabwe CEO Peter Chikumba was not party to the meetings.
“They agreed during these meeting that arrears owed to the pilots should be cleared within six months.
Government failed to meet this deadline, which resulted in the most recent strike.  Kadzura was again not actively involved on the negotiations, which could have annoyed him as board chairman. Acting CEO Innocent Mavhunga, Munyanyiwa and Mbiriri instead took part in these negotiations.”
Air Zimbabwe pilots went on a strike on last month  over non-payment of nearly US$3 million in outstanding salaries. The strike, according to the sources, was stopped after the parties agreed government would immediately pay 74% of the arrears, with the remainder being cleared by end of August this year.
Meanwhile, Munyanyiwa is understood to have quit the national carrier amid reports that he has joined a Middle East airline.