Mixed Feelings Over Chinamasa’s AirZim Appointment

The appointment of former Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa as the board chairperson of struggling Air Zimbabwe yesterday has sent tongues waging with some doubting his capabilities to turnaround the fortunes of the national carrier.

Chinamasa’s appointment was seen by many who felt it was a return of the ‘jobs for boys’ system popular in the Zanu-PF administration with another former cabinet minister Michael Madanha appointed to chair the ZINARA board among others.

Chinamasa will have to lift the airline from its economic murky waters as it is believed to be wallowing in a US$387 million debt, as alleged by AirZim Administrator Reggie Saruchera when he stood before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Transport and Infrastructure.

Norton Member of Parliament, Temba Mliswa said Chinamasa’s record makes him the right candidate for the job.

“Also congrats to @PAChinamasa on being appointed Board Chair of @FlyAirZimbabwe one thing you can’t take away from him is his hard-line, strict corporate governance stance. They’ll be no nonsense there and he has the capacity to turn it around,” Mliswa posted on Twitter.

He said Chinamasa must force all government officials to fly on AirZim flights despite the dilapidated state of the only plane which flies regional and international routes.

“His first move should be to insist that all govt ministers and ZANU PF officials including himself only fly @airzimbabweUM & nothing elsewhere the route is available. Our money should support the National airline. That will indicate seriousness,” he said.

This follows the outcry by citizens over the chartering of private jets by President Mnangagwa and some of his senior government officials.

However, UK based lawyer, Alex Magaisa questioned the legality in the appointment of Chinamasa.

“October 2018, Government issued General Notice 758/2018 under which Air Zimbabwe was placed under administration. Control of the company was given to the Administrator, Reggie Saruchera. The board ceased to have power. But Patrick Chinamasa has been made Chairman of the board

“There has been no indication prior to the announcement of Chinamasa as board chairman that Air Zimbabwe is no longer under administration or that the primary law which vests all powers over the company in the Administrator has been amended to accommodate a board

“All this suggests that the so-called appointment of Chinamasa as board chairman of Air Zimbabwe is on dubious & shaky legal grounds. Why, in any event, from a corporate governance perspective, would the government create competing authorities – a board & an Administrator?” he questioned.

His sentiments were echoed by another lawyer Admire Shava, who said the appointment was a legal boob due to the non-existent of the AirZim board.

“The appointment of Chinamasa as AirZim board chair is a legal boob. Currently, there’s no board running the affairs of AirZim, its powers having been suspended through the appointment of Saruchera as its administrator. U can’t chair a “non-existent” entity,” said Shava.