Gweru council hunt for substantive town clerk still on

Source: The Chronicle – Breaking news

Gweru council hunt for substantive town clerk still on

Patrick Chitumba, 

GWERU City Council (GCC) is still hunting for a substantive town clerk to replace Ms Elizabeth Gwatipedza who was fired in 2019.

The local authority has been functioning with interim town clerks at the helm, a development that residents blame for the council’s failure to deliver efficient service. 

Last year, the local authority placed an advert in the newspapers inviting aspiring candidates to apply to fill the post and the closing date was December 4.

 A total of 24 people applied for the job amid indications those who submitted their CVs failed to make the grade resulting in the council re-advertising.

After the screening process, only four out of 24 applicants met the requirements as per the advertisement. However, the number was not enough for the council to go ahead with the interviews.

Gweru Mayor Councillor Martin Chivhoko confirmed that they re-advertised the vacant post of town clerk.

He said the local authority needs more people to interview after which the top three performers would be short-listed and their names submitted to the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works for consideration.

“Out of the 24 applicants, we managed to get four applicants with the requisite qualifications and experience needed during short-listing so that is why we decided to re-advertise. We felt it wasn’t proper to interview four people,” he said.

Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission

“We are required to forward three names to the Local Government Board after the interviews according to their performance.”

Cllr Chivhoko said the closing date for new applications was January 3.

“Those that had responded to the previous advert dated November 12 should not bother to reapply as their previous applications will not be considered. Female candidates are encouraged to apply,” he said.

The town clerk is responsible for crafting and implementing effective organisational development structures, procedures, and processes aimed at enhancing the functionality of the city and improving its public image.

He or she is also tasked with supervising and overseeing council employees to ensure the delivery of efficient and effective services to the community.

“We heard that town clerks come and go, but even if we engage a substantive town clerk if he or she fails to perform to the satisfaction of the residents, he or she will go and we engage another one until we get the best candidate,” said Cllr Chivhoko.

The post fell vacant following the dismissal of Ms Gwatipedza who was found guilty on three charges that included disobeying a lawful order to submit her contract of employment and those of other departmental heads.

She was also found guilty of gross incompetence in the performance of her work after she failed to comply with the audit and supervise the finance department.

After her dismissal, Gweru City Council appointed its chamber secretary Mr Vakai Douglas Chikwekwe as the acting town clerk before he later resigned alleging persecution and victimisation by the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) councillors.

Before his resignation, Mr Chikwekwe had been on suspension following his arrest by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc).

It was alleged that he violated tender procedures resulting in companies Sheasham, Casas, and Wackdrive winning tenders to service Mkoba 21 and Randolph Phase 1 suburb stands.

Mr Chikwekwe’s criminal abuse of office matter was however withdrawn before plea when he appeared before a Gweru provincial magistrate.

He was replaced by the city’s finance director Mr Livingstone Churu, who is the current acting town clerk.