Purging of top managers paralyses Karoi Town Council

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By James Muonwa l Mashonaland West Correspondent

SERVICE delivery has deteriorated in Karoi following suspension of top managers, resulting in most departments being headed by officials in acting capacities.

Zimbabwe National Organisation And Residents Trust (ZNOART) Mashonaland West provincial chairman, Liberty Chitiya, told managerial changes at Karoi Town Council were affecting efficient and effective service delivery.

The paralysis, he said, was due to shocks of abrupt changes, which have had ripple effects on morale of other council employees.

“How can an organisation run with all its senior managers on an acting basis? The temporary positions are thus contributing to non-long term plans for the town because management has its eyes fixed on survival for a job rather than providing a service for community development,” said Chitiya.

“The continuous changes are, therefore, causing a dearth of trust in council performances without compensation to residents for unending management changes affecting revenue collection and council viability,” he said.

In recent weeks, Karoi appointed a new acting town secretary in a bid to turn around the fortunes of the local authority.

Freddie Mumiriki was recently appointed as acting secretary to steer the ship in the wake of the suspension of substantive secretary, Wellington Mutikani, on corruption allegations, and subsequent rotation of two other top officials to fill in the post.

This comes against a background of seven councillors also facing routine court appearances for various charges, among them abuse of office.

Chitiya said managerial changes have affected discharge of duties by council, which now has most of the management team in acting capacities. These include the housing director, treasurer and engineer posts.

The ZNOART chairman opined the unending attrition had resulted in dearth of institutional memory in that there was minimum experience being transferred from senior to junior management with no clear cut solution in sight.

“As residents, we call for the speedy conclusion of court cases for both management and councillors in order to remove uncertainty and improve dissemination of those management changes to the residents and ratepayers,” he said.

“ZNOART also appeals to the parent ministry to initiate speedy recommendations in the filling of the Town Secretary post because the Urban Councils Act, 139 (2) is clear that a council shall not discharge a town clerk unless the discharge has been approved by the Local Government Board,” said Chitiya.

Karoi Chairman, Abel Matsika, said council decided to appoint a new acting town secretary from within its ranks with hope Mumiriki would add impetus towards outstanding targets, especially devolution projects and the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme (ERRP).

“Remember the bulk of our managers are on suspension with pending court cases, so we were left incapacitated,” said Matsika.

“These are measures to close the gaps and our ministry is also aware of our precarious predicament.”

Matsika said Precious Nharara, who has been in an acting capacity, was reassigned to acting administrator.

Before Nharara took charge, Hastings Makunda, who was then administrator, was thrust to the hot seat before his unceremonious jettisoning on charges of unprocedural land acquisition.