In December 2020 Dr Cainos Chingombe, Harare City Council Director of Human Capital was arrested on allegations of criminal abuse of office and fraud allegations.
The arresting team was a formidable union of the much-maligned and now defunct Special Anti-Corruption Unit (SACU) and the ZRP Special investigations team.
His arrest was celebrated as the manifestation of the Second Republic’s teeth in fighting public office corruption.
Ironically he was arrested having just completed a three year Council suspension sentence for misconduct.
His new arrest spurred a host of levers into action, almost as if everyone was waiting for the cue to jump into action.
Swiftly, Harare Council moved in and suspended him from his position at work.
Not to be left behind, former Harare Council workers jumped from the bushes to push for an investigation of Chingombe on allegations of misrepresenting his date of birth so as to postpone his retirement.
This followed a mass retirement of his fellow workmates in 2014 after Council reduced the retirement age from 65 to 60.
Furthermore, Chingombe, as Human Capital Director, was said to be the architect of the new regulation relating to the new retirement age.
His former buddies did not want to walk into the sunset alone. They wanted him along.
It was a medley of dramas wavering between the funny, the tragic and the stressful for Chingombe.
A logical bet prophesied his loss.
All Froth And No Punch
However, despite the flurry of arrests, suspensions and investigations, Chingombe was recently acquitted together with his co-accused and Harare Finance Director Tendai Kwenda.
The two were found not guilty of transferring US$130 000 from the Council’s Traditional Beer Levy accounts into their respective bank accounts and buying top-of-the-range vehicles.
The magistrate acquitted the two noting that the State had failed to provide evidence that the duo committed the alleged offences.
It was a sorry and anti-climactic ending to a case whose tendrils of alternative accusations and investigations spoke of ulterior motives and hidden agendas.
The investigation into his supposed fake date of birth also died a still-birth.
However, latest events at Council have served to reinforce the strong feeling that more is at play than fighting corruption.
Having won his case Chingombe recently returned to office and wrote a memo announcing his return to other heads of department.
“I hereby advice that I have resumed my normal duty as the human resources director,’ read Chingombe’s letter.
However, no sooner was the memo gone out before the Acting Town Clerk Engineer Moyo wrote another memo informing Chingombe that he remains suspended.
“In reference, thereto please be advised that my letter to you dated 15 November 2022 still stands.
“As such you are ordered to stop reporting for duty with immediate effect pending the commencement and finalisation of the negotiations process.
“You will be invited for the negotiations within the next three days,” the Acting Town Clerk said.
The Head of Public Safety was even informed not to allow Chingombe into Town House.
As Chingombe trudges back home to await further instructions from Council, history warns that this may not be the grand finale in his continuum of nine lives.
He may return yet again.