via Mayor, Chombo on collision course | The Herald February 4, 2014 by Felex Share
Harare Mayor Mr Bernard Manyenyeni is headed for a showdown with Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Dr Ignatius Chombo after he refused to reinstate Town Clerk Dr Tendai Mahachi.
Mr Manyenyeni yesterday insisted Dr Mahachi remained suspended and he had written a letter to the council chief executive notifying him of his position.
Dr Chombo on Saturday ordered Dr Mahachi’s reinstatement after the mayor suspended him for failing to avail the salary schedule for senior management at Town House.
“I am the one who suspended him and I am the one who will reinstate him and that I have not done so yet,” said Mr Manyenyeni.
“I have written to him informing him that the suspension still stands. I only heard that he was seen at work today (yesterday) and I do not know what he was doing or if he is still there as I speak.”
Sources said Dr Mahachi reported for duty yesterday.
“I did not apologise to anyone as alleged and I have no apology to make over my decision,” he said. “Yes, I have seen the reversal letter, but I am meeting ministry officials tomorrow (Tuesday) morning over the issue. But as things stand at council Dr Mahachi is still suspended.”
At the Saturday media conference, Mr Manyenyeni told Dr Chombo that he disagreed with the minister’s decision to seek Dr Mahachi’s immediate return to office.
“Minister, we are not in agreement at all and I think we have to engage further,” he said when Dr Chombo told the media that they had reached an accord on the lifting of Dr Mahachi’s suspension.
Dr Mahachi was suspended for three months after he refused to disclose the salary and benefits schedule for council senior employees in line with a December 17, 2013 council resolution.
The suspension was in terms of Section 139, Subsection 3 of the Urban Councils Act, which states: “If it appears to the mayor or chairman, as the case may be, that the town clerk of the council has been guilty of such conduct that it is desirable that the town clerk should not be permitted to carry on his work, he –
(a) may suspend the town clerk from office and require him forthwith to leave his place of work; and
(b) shall forthwith notify the council or, in the case of a municipality, executive committee, in writing, of such suspension and cause the suspension to be reported to the council at the first opportunity.”
The suspension, Mr Manyenyeni said, was to facilitate investigations into Dr Mahachi’s conduct and the affairs and finances of the city.
Dr Chombo said the suspension was a nullity, arguing that it bordered on personal vendettas which should not scuttle council business in any way.
Harare residents have queried Dr Chombo’s actions, saying the minister should allow investigations to proceed without let or hindrance so that there is greater transparency in the capital city’s affairs.