Mayor, Councilor Blessing Tandi, has revealed that deceased city Town Clerk Joshua Maligwa, who died yesterday afternoon, succumbed to the Coronavirus (Covid-19).
In a message to the city, Tandi described the passing on of Mutare's chief accounting officer as a huge blow in view of the tremendous progress the late Maligwa made to improve service delivery.
He said the late Maligwa, who assumed the helm at Civic Centre from Rusape Town in 2017, where he was Town Secretary, was a dedicated public servant who transformed service delivery in the city.
"It is with heavy heart to announce the passing on of our Town Clerk Mr Joshua Maligwa. He breathed his last this afternoon after succumbing to Covid 19. As a local authority right from policy makers and the entire management and the shop floor, we are devastated, we have been torn apart and we are in great pain.
"The passing on of Mr Maligwa has dealt us a huge blow, given the momentum that we had so far attained in turning around the state of service delivery. Indeed he devoted his entire energy and dedicated his intellectual prowess and capacity to make a difference at Civic Centre.
"On behalf of myself as the mayor, councilors, the acting town clerk and his management team and the entire workforce we would like to convey our heartfelt condolences to the Maligwa family. Indeed we have been robbed of a giant and his three year stint at the helm of the City of Mutare has brought major transformation.
"Mutare and Manicaland at large we have lost an eminent local government practitioner of repute whose impact were felt beyond the borders. Indeed the mountain has fallen and darkness has covered us all in the City.
He added, "As we mourn our local government hero and renowned practitioner let us adhere to the Covid-19 guidelines and always mask up and regularly wash our hands with running tape water, maintain social distance," he said.
In a touching eulogy to the late Maligwa, council spokesperson Spren Mutiwi in a social media post said council management has been robbed and left poorer.
"You came, you led, you changed the rhythm, you executed, you achieved, you transformed, you showed the way, and you rested. Good Night Mr Maligwa Joshua, Bla Josh, indeed we are poorer without you.
"We have been devasted, shaken, but we shall pursue and accomplish what you started," said Mutiwi.
In July 2017, Maligwa unearthed a well-choreographed corruption ring which was siphoning revenue through supply of goods and services at inflated prices by shadowy private companies on priority payment arrangements.
Maligwa is credited for transforming the local municipality, fighting corruption which bled council heavily, improving city's reputation of efficiency and transparency in running its affairs.
However, sources say while he had been battling with Covid-19 and he had taken leave in mid-December last year, Maligwa courted enemies during his stint.
Some insiders credited the late for fighting to improve corporate governance at the institution and making the most of council meagre resources.
"During his time as Town Clerk, Maligwa was responsible for leading the City of Mutare and ensured that the City was kept abreast of development in local governance,"
"He was also key in enhancing the City's reputation of efficiency and transparency and ensured that Mutare City Council continued to provide quality services with its core business albeit with limited resources," said a city council insider.
Maligwa was at the time of his death at logger heads with War Veterans who accused him of dismissing them from work unprocedurally and had made several threats to him, at one time camping at council for two weeks demanding reinstatement.
Posting on micro blogging site Twitter a character named the Children of Zimbabwe War Veterans Association Platform, said Maligwa's death was foul play from enemies who placed a dead owl in his office.
"The late Mutare Town Clerk Maligwa's death is not Covid19 related as a dead owl was found in his office amid warnings from war veterans whom he authorized their dismissal over retirement age.
"He was warned he wouldn't be alive for a period exceeding 7 days & he died on the 7th day," read the post.