via Harare town clerk sent on forced leave – NewsDay Zimbabwe July 1, 2015
HARARE town clerk Tendai Mahachi was yesterday sent on indefinite leave to pave way for officials to investigate a slew of allegations including that he is frustrating salary cuts for overpaid executives.
BY MOSES MATENGA
Mayor Bernard Manyenyeni told a full council meeting yesterday evening the decision was made to facilitate investigations after council felt Mahachi’s presence was stalling progress on a number of issues.
Several councillors and Mahachi said they were caught unaware by the decision.
“There will never be anything personal, I have a professional relationship and will maintain it,” Manyenyeni said.
He said the need to plan Mahachi’s succession without interference also influenced the decision.
“There are issues to be handled including the succession plan and that can be handled without him,” the mayor said.
“I have given the town clerk the letter now and the letter will be delivered to the ministry (Local Government).
“It’s just by coincidence that I made the announcement at the full council meeting as it coincided with the end of the month where I was meant to announce the decision.”
“Those are some of the issues including executive salaries and we want to make it clear that he (Mahachi) is the biggest beneficiary and is therefore an interested part. Let us allow processes without him.
“The leave, as we speak, is indefinite, no hard feelings. This is not a suspension, but we want to move forward.”
But Mahachi, who was surprised by Manyenyeni’s action, threatened to take up the matter “somewhere”, saying the move was “illegal” and “unheard of”.
“I don’t even know what’s happening. I think in there, he made two statements; one of them is on a succession plan in my absence,” he said.
“This is the first of its kind in Zimbabwe. I don’t think you will find anywhere this will happen again. Legally, it doesn’t make sense, there is no council resolution, he just took it from the hat when he mentioned it, that is why he said you are on leave.”
He said the government was dealing with his succession plan and the mayor had jumped the gun.
“The organisation has been working on a succession plan. As a matter of fact, he wrote that to the minister requesting for input and the minister took it to the Local Government Board that is dealing with the issue,” Mahachi added. “This is very unusual. When you see the cited reasons, for me, it’s unbelievable. Also you can ask councillors, I think they were also taken by surprise. We will look into the matter and see.”
Mahachi said it was not about performance as it came minutes after the full council had commended him and his team for providing street lighting and clearing workers’ salary arrears, among others.
Human resources committee chairman Wellington Chikombo also said he was not involved in the matter.
“I don’t know what’s happening, we are still to get confirmation, but the mayor said he sent him on leave, that is his decision,” Chombo said. “It is the mayor who sent him on leave.”
Deputy mayor Thomas Muzuva said Manyenyeni had the authority to make such a decision since the town clerk reported to him.
This is not the first time that Mahachi has been suspended by Manyenyeni.
In January last year, the mayor was left with egg on the face after Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo rescinded the decision to suspend Mahachi over “obscene” salaries and allowances.
Mahachi was often accused of being Chombo’s blue-eyed boy after he on several occasions ignored some council resolutions following the minister’s directives.
He has become unpopular with the MDC-T-dominated council for listening more to Chombo instead of councillors.
The latest clash between Mahachi and councillors was on the issue of vendors’ relocation where the town clerk was accused of taking instructions from the Zanu PF government.
Meanwhile, chamber secretary Josephine Ncube has been appointed acting town clerk.