By Tererai Karimakwenda
SW Radio Africa
14 July, 2014
The man whose name is widely associated with corruption and the word “salary-gate” has made headlines again, following a weekend trip to Brazil where he watched the 2014 World Cup Final with a large entourage of government chefs.
Cuthbert Dube, former CEO of the Premier Services Medical Aid Society and current board chairman of Zimbabwe’s football organiser Zifa, has been slammed by groups linked to football, who are calling for his dismissal as well as a replacement of the entire management.
The critics say he has every right to be in Brazil because FIFA paid for his ticket, but they resent the fact that he hardly ever goes to any local games even when the national team is playing and has done nothing to improve the sport.
Critics calling for Dube’s dismissal include Paddington Japajapa of the National Soccer Supporters Association, who reportedly said that government should take drastic actions similar to those taken by the Nigeria, where the entire board was dismissed after they exited the World Cup in the round-of-16 stages.
The Herald newspaper quotes Japajapa saying: “He is one person who is never seen at the local stadiums, not even for the big games like the Harare Derby or when the national team is playing. That on its own shows that he has no interest whatsoever for the game.”
Sports enthusiast Solomon Madzore, the MDC-T National Youth chairperson in the Renewal Team, said the problem is not the trip alone because he would not care if Dube watched the World Cup on the moon.
“It goes to back to the issue of the people who elected Zifa officials. He does not have the kind of mandate we expect. He was elected, yes, but it was very shady, very hazy and not clear. We hear that he hired almost all the hotels in Harare to accommodate the delegates,” Madzore told SW Radio Africa.
Francis Zimunya, former Zifa board member and founder of the Lifelong Footballers’ Trust, is reported as saying the “players and clubs are suffering while a few individuals are wining and dining with the famous”.
Meanwhile the Herald also reported that Dube insists that he is still employed by Premier Services Medical Aid Society, where he was suspended last year after his exorbitant salary was publicised during the salary-gate probe that exposed several fat cats making too much money at failing government institutions.
Dube’s lawyer, Jonathan Samkange, reportedly said the PSMAS owes Dube $700,000 in salary arrears, because they sent him on leave and did not specify that it was unpaid time off.
But the current acting chairman of the medical group, Gibson Mhlanga, explained that this was not true and Dube’s contract had been terminated by the previous board, which offered him an exit package and had already given him some of the money.
Tickets to Brazil for Dube and Mashingaidze were reportedly paid for by FIFA, but the rest of his entourage sought sponsorship by writing to private firms. It is not clear how much was raised or who contributed to their flights, game tickets and hotel accommodation.
The group included Zifa chief executive Jonathan Mashingaidze, Premier Soccer League chairman Twine Phiri, MP Temba Mliswa who chairs the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Education, Sport, Arts and Culture and Sports Minister Andrew Langa.