via Mahachi in forgery storm – NewsDay Zimbabwe. 18 June 2014 by Moses Matenga
HARARE town clerk Tendai Mahachi is embroiled in a forgery storm after the council boss allegedly tinkered with his date of birth possibly to extend his tenure of office and escape the ongoing job cuts targeting those above the age of 60.
More senior council executives were also suspected to have falsified their birth records at Town House as they have reached retirement age.
Documents at hand reveal that Mahachi was born on November 15 1956, and would be turning 58 in November this year and therefore was not eligible for early retirement.
But a copy of the town clerk’s passport — number CN851406 — shown to NewsDay yesterday indicates that Mahachi was actually born on November 15 1950, hence he will be turning 64 in November this year.
The passport, which was issued on June 12 2012, expires on June 11 2022.
NewsDay investigations also showed that staff at Town House celebrated Mahachi’s 62nd birthday two years ago.
Informed sources said Mahachi had reportedly fiddled with Town House employee birth records to circumvent early retirement.
Mahachi yesterday declined to comment on the matter, saying he was not at work and was not feeling well.
Mahachi’s profile shown on the council’s website does not give the town clerk’s age, but only provides details of his academic and professional qualifications and marital status.
Mahachi’s stay at Town House has not been rosy, fighting ex-mayor Muchadeyi Masunda on staff rationalisation, a possible indication that he was against the move in 2011.
Council sources said Mahachi could have deliberately amended his date of birth to avoid the ongoing staff downsizing exercise.
“What we have said is all those above 60 should go. All we can do now is to check with the Registrar-General’s Office and compare with what he gave us, then we will see how to proceed with the matter, if there is anything at all,” a senior council official, who declined to be named, said.
“There are people who have done that before to appear younger and most of them were caught in the process.”
Another official said a few other council executives had also falsified their birth records at Town House. He said records showed that one of the council bosses was born in the 1960s yet his educational certificates at Town House showed that he went to university in the late 1960s up to the early 70s.
Harare mayor Bernard Manyenyeni, who is responsible for the signing of the town clerk’s contract, was not immediately available for comment as he was said to be out of the country.
Harare has so far sent more than 10 directors on early retirement and retrenchment from the initial 18 as part of a staff rationalisation exercise collapsing several departments to save meagre financial resources.
According to council’s employee birthdays report, some of the top officials who have left the municipality were treasurer Misheck Mubvumbi (60), business development manager Cosmas Zvikaramba (age not given), housing and community services director Justine Chivavaya (48), urban planning services director Psychology Chiwanga (55) and amenities director Dombo Chibanda (61).
Mahachi is no stranger to controversy as he was recently hauled before Parliament for declining to disclose the council executive’s salaries following an outcry over reports that they were being paid huge salaries while service delivery was suffering.
He has also been fingered as having authorised the recent acquisition of 25 luxury vehicles for top officials worth an estimated $2 million without council approval and using part of the money borrowed from Afreximbank of China for rehabilitation of the city’s obsolete water reticulation system.
In 2011, the Harare Residents’ Trust (HRT) said Mahachi had become more of a policymaker at Town House than implementer of policies made by councillors.
HRT said then: “The Town Clerk insists there is no need to retrench workers, instead 3 500 more would need to be recruited, expanding the workforce from the current 9 850 people. On the other hand, the mayor is arguing that the ‘deadwood’ at Town House should be ‘chopped off’.”