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Harare goes for 30 months without Chief Executive

01/01/2018 00:00:00
by Chris Mahove
Political meddling affecting Harare ... Bernard Manyenyeni

HARARE, which is constantly under pressure from residents over poor service delivery, has gone for 30 months without a substantive Town Clerk due to political meddling by former local government minister Saviour Kasukuwere.

This was revealed by mayor Bernard Manyenyeni last Friday at a meeting with residents to discuss the water situation in the capital city.

“The city has gone for over 30 months without a substantive Town Clerk, or Chief Executive. This has been due to the fight over the responsibility to choose the biggest tool for the job at Town House,” Manyenyeni said.

Selection of top council officials has always been a contested issue, with the Zanu PF government seeking to manipulate the recruitment process through the Ministry of Local government.

The last town clerk James Mushore, who replaced fired long-serving council CEO Tendai Mahachi, was fired at the instance of then local government minister Kasukuwere.

Mushore is challenging his dismissal at the Labour Court but the local authority has since held interviews to replace him with opposition MDC-T Secretary for Finance, Tapiwa Mashakada, emerging tops.

Mashakada’s success could be the reason why the process has stalled, according to Manyenyeni.

The MDC-T mayor, who also announced at the meeting that he will be stepping down in the next seven months, said the position of Town Clerk was raising so much interest in government because it ranked just below that of Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet.

The responsibilities of Harare’s town clerk are equivalent to those of ten small government ministries.

“This is why, historically, the position has been denied full professional space both in the recruitment and also in daily or strategic operations,” said Manyenyeni.

He however, pinned his hopes on the new local government minister July Moyo and his and permanent secretary George Magosvongwe to urgently deal with the matter as they were perceived to be professional.

“This Town Clerk issue is critical for the current and next mayor because our residents do not know or care about a Mayor being non-executive, they just want things done,” he said

Government has in the past interfered in the running of local authorities, especially those run by the opposition MDC-T, with the respective ministers of Local Government firing elected councillors and mayors on spurious grounds and replacing them with commissions consisting of known Zanu PF officials.


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