Spugah Dhibhura, hotel in labour dispute

HARARE - Controversial radio, stage and screen actor Clifford Makonese, 34 popularly known as Spugah Dhibhura has seen it all in radio and stage drama dating back to 1999.

Since 1999, Dhibhura has featured in more than 16 radio programmes on the former Radio 2 now known as Radio Zimbabwe. Some of the popular programmes included Vachabongomora nebongozozo and Toicherepi pfimbi yedu yevashakabvu?

“I got the nickname Spugah Dhibhura from fellow actors and it has stuck since then.”

Dhibhura said apart from being a talented actor he is also a musician. “I have so far released four albums — Zambuko, Dhibhura Mave Kechemei (gospel), Ndashateiko? and Kushinga. The DVD production of Ngapagadziriswe is still under production.”

The talented artist uses the name Zvido Zvevanhu Theatre Productions for theatre engagements while Mweya Mutsvene Choral is for his musical band.

His plays are about what is going on in the country be it in politics, health and love issues. “We have collaborated with Maggie, Doves and a maize-meal company that we provide with tailored productions.”

Dhibhura is however, a bitter man after Frontline Hotel at Nharira Township, Chivhu failed to honour its pledge to pay him for services rendered over a period of four-and-half months.

Dhibhura claims he was employed as a hotel manager by Stanley Mtetwa who runs Frontline Hotel from December 1, 2013 to April 16, 2014, hence was owed $3 000.

He has since approached the Labour Court over the alleged non-payment of wages and unfair dismissal. The matter was referred for arbitration in terms of section 93(5) (b) of the Act.

“The Labour Court first ruled in my  favour but I was surprised that after Mtetwa approached the same court, a second ruling was made and the judgment was reversed. Interestingly, it was the same arbitrator who ruled on the two instances.

“I have since appealed again to the Labour Court, but this time not in Marondera where the initial cases were heard.”

Dhibhura said he had first met the owner of the hotel on a social occasion and through interaction got to befriend each other.

“When we first met, the hotel was not even functioning but years later, I then approached him so that we could resuscitate the place.

“I got employed verbally though but this was a gentlemen’s agreement and I didn’t think it could come to all this. I trusted Mtetwa too much. I invited some bands from Harare to come and play at the hotel and business was starting to improve — but the problem is he did not pay me for all the four months I was there.”

Dhibhura said he was surprised that after realising that he had been awarded damages by the Labour Court, Mtetwa appealed against the ruling, arguing that he did not even know me.

“He professed ignorance of my being employed at the hotel, saying I did not have a contract although I used to send daily takings through his mobile phone or his wives.

“I took all this evidence to the Labour Court and it baffles me how they came to agree with Mtetwa during the second ruling, that I was just a stranger.”

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