Andrew Kunambura 31 October 2017
HARARE – Harare mayor Bernard Manyenyeni is headed for another showdown
with Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere after he wrote to the
Local Government Board (LGB) protesting against the minister’s decision to
block the appointment of Hatfield MDC legislator Tapiwa Mashakada to the
position of town clerk.
Kasukuwere has said Mashakada was unacceptable as town clerk ostensibly
because he was “a career politician” despite the fact that he came out
tops in interviews for the town clerk job, scoring 1 534 points ahead of
City of Harare’s human capital director Cainos Chingombe who got 1 394
points and Gweru town clerk Elizabeth Gwatipedza who garnered 1 228
Manyenyeni has written a strong-worded letter to the chairperson of the
LGB, urging it to ignore Kasukuwere’s moves.
“I wish to register my disquiet over pre-emptive remarks by your
appointing authority, the minister of Local Government, Public Works and
National Housing… Kasukuwere which seek to disqualify the leading
aspirant for the post of town clerk of Harare. It is my submission that
your board has been subjected to undue political pressure to eliminate the
top applicant from the post,” reads Manyenyeni’s letter.
“I have studied the interview file and as leader of council, I am
satisfied that the panel has found a competent individual for the
long-delayed turnaround of Harare. We have a duty to evaluate and react to
the impact of the political pressures induced yet again into the final
stages of the recruitment process.
“My council looks forward to restoring the fortunes of the City of Harare
under the leadership of the candidate who has merited the position without
any political discount,” Manyenyeni said.
The mayor confirmed the bonafides of the letter in an interview yesterday.
“I wrote the letter because the minister’s remarks are aimed at
eliminating the candidate, who has merited the job,” he said.
Kasukuwere levelled the same accusations against Manyenyeni.
“I didn’t see the letter but the mayor has this tendency to just speak. He
submitted the list (of the top three applicants) to the LGB and it’s doing
its job, he should not try to cajole it.
“We know what game he is playing but we remain quiet. He must just allow
the board to do its job,” Kasukuwere said yesterday.
This will become the third time Manyenyeni has clashed with Kasukuwere,
after the two went toe-to-toe over the controversial appointment of former
town clerk, James Mushore, who was shown the door well before he started
work after Kasukuwere vetoed the appointment, arguing that it was done
outside legal parameters.
Late last year, Kasukuwere also overturned the decision by Manyenyeni to
suspend the current acting town clerk Josephine Ncube and Chingombe, for
allegedly defying a Cabinet directive to slash their salaries.