Source: MDC-T interferes in town clerk appointment process – Sunday News June 5, 2016
Vusumuzi Dube Municipal Reporter
THE Bulawayo City Council was allegedly forced to recommend the appointment of Acting Town Clerk, Mrs Sikhangele Zhou as the choice candidate for the position of the city’s substantive Town Clerk, after an alleged instruction from the MDC-T party, it has emerged. MDC-T secretary for Local Government, Mr Eddie Cross reportedly called an urgent meeting with councillors on Wednesday where he allegedly instructed councillors to push Mrs Zhou to the front of the list instead of their preferred candidate, Victoria Falls Town Clerk, Mr Christopher Dube.
This is despite Mrs Zhou having been placed fourth in interviews that were held by the local authority’s general purposes committee a couple of weeks ago.
Contacted for comment, Mr Cross confirmed the meeting with the councillors regarding the issue of the appointment of the city’s Town Clerk, but could neither confirm nor deny the allegations that the councillors had been told which candidate to endorse.
“Yes, I had a meeting with the councillors at 10am (Wednesday). The meeting’s agenda was mainly to do with the appointment of the city’s town clerk, where among other things I was telling them to keep this issue of the appointment of the town clerk away from the public domain, hence I am surprised that they have already leaked this information to you.
“Anyway since you are already in the know I should confirm to you that today (Wednesday), they will be discussing it at their full council meeting and then a special council meeting will be called to finalise the matter, after which the final list of three will be sent to the Local Government Board. I am told that a total of 40 people applied for the job, of which they came up with an initial shortlist of eight before coming up with the final three,” said Mr Cross.
Mr Cross defended the “interference” in council affairs saying his party was acting in the best interest for Bulawayo.
“We are not interfering but just want the best for the city,” said Mr Cross.
On the list that had been compiled by the local authority, Victoria Falls town clerk Mr Dube had come out tops followed by former Tsholotsho Rural District Council chief executive officer Ronnie Dube, while there was a tie in fourth place between acting town clerk, Mrs Sikhangele Zhou and Hwange Colliery finance manager Mr Gift Sibanda.
Meanwhile, the Affirmative Action Group (Matabeleland Charter) last week wrote a letter addressed to the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, Cde Saviour Kasukuwere where they challenged the whole process arguing that councillors had no capacity to conduct the process.
“In light of the impending publication of inquiry set by your ministry to investigate the corrupt practices and conduct by officials of the Bulawayo City Council, which is both administrators and councillors, we request that your office suspends the confirmation of names (for town clerk position) that have been seconded to the Local Government Board for selection
“The general purposes committee that held interviews has no capacity as this committee is made up of a shelf packer employed by (named retail shop), a retired nurse aid, unemployed councillors and the mayor who is a former teacher. Based on basic analysis of their background and track record, they thus sit at the top of BCC’s mismanagement maladies,” reads the letter signed by the AAG chief executive officer, Mr Denzel Sita.
AAG further questioned the logic behind the local authority’s human resources manager being part of the interviewing panel.
“This is in itself a clear sign of dysfunctional standards, as it is mind boggling how one can sit on a panel that serves to choose your superior let alone interview your current leader,” reads part of the letter.
Efforts to get a comment from the city’s mayor, Councillor Martin Moyo were fruitless. Contacted for comment Minister Kasukuwere said they would review the process and if they find anything wrong.
“The Local Government Board is there to review such things and ensure that there is no anomaly in such appointments,” he said.