Harare City Council director of works Engineer Zvenyika Chawatama has allegedly appointed himself acting town clerk illegally and is making executive decisions that have a bearing on council’s operations.
According to a letter seen by The Herald dated December 8, 2020, Eng Chawatama was appointed to act as town clerk for only three days by then acting town clerk Dr Prosper Chonzi, while he was away on council business.
After the expiry of the three days, Eng Chawatama refused to relinquish his acting jacket and continued to act as the town clerk, making executive decisions.
On January 15, 2021, the then Harare council acting mayor councillor Luckson Mukunguma wrote to Eng Chawatama advising him that he was no longer the acting town clerk, but he ignored the letter.
In his letter, Clr Mukunguma said: “It has come to my attention that you are moving around purporting to be the acting town clerk, making key appointments based on the same.
“I wish to remind you that the town clerk remains Engineer Hosiah Chisango. By copy of this letter, you are hereby warned to stop masquerading as the acting town clerk as the same amounts to gross misconduct.”
On 18 January 2021, Eng Chawatama ignored the Cllr Mukunguma’s letter and wrote a letter to all heads of departments on the restructuring of the council’s operations.
“Please be advised that any restructuring of council operations across departments should be undertaken after a thorough comprehensive development of the City of Harare strategic plan (2020-2025) whose conclusion should be adopted by council and all other key stakeholders, Government included,” he said.
Eng Chawatama signed the letter as the acting town clerk although he does not have an appointment letter.
Clr Mukunguma then reported Eng Chawatama to the Special Anti-Corruption Unit for his illegal actions.
In his report to SACU, Cllr Mukunguma said: “On January 15, 2021, I discovered that Eng Iziah Zvenyika Chawatama, the current director works in the City of Harare, has self-appointed himself as the acting town clerk for the City of Harare. He is fraudulently and illegally creating parallel structures through dubious appointment of staff in critical positions.”
Cllr Mukunguma indicated that Eng Chawatama was also nullifying lawful decisions made by the Eng Chisango as the town clerk.
He said Eng Chawatama’s actions were criminal in that he was making critical decisions that were deliberately misleading and prejudicial with a potential to cost the council huge sums of money in potential litigation.
A town planner who declined to be named said the city council should have clear managerial structures, instead of relying on people who hold key positions unprocedurally.
“If it is true that Eng Chawatama is clinging on to the position of Town Clerk for which he was not appointed, then it means there is chaos in the council,” said the town planner.
“Eng Chawatama should thus respect council protocols and revert to his position of director of works for which he was appointed, instead of creating confusion within council and stalling progress.
“That is why we are seeing the neglect of service delivery with garbage not being collected, roads not being attended to and grass on the road sides being not cut. This shows there are some out to cause confusion in the council.”