Longer wait for new town clerk

THE appointment of Harare’s new town clerk will take longer than expected after the Local Government Board said it wants to interview all nine candidates vying for the post.

The Harare City Council forwarded three names – Dr Tapiwa Mashakada (MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai’s economic advisor), Dr Cainos Chingombe (Harare human capital director) and Mrs Elizabeth Gwatipedza (Gweru town clerk) – to the board to select who among them was best suited for the job.

Dr Mashakada was the council’s top pick, but Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Saviour Kasukuwere rejected his candidature as he is a career politician who could not assume an administrative role in the municipality. According to the Urban Councils Act, the Local Government Board approves or rejects the appointment of a town clerk as recommended by the council.

Secretary for Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, Engineer George Mlilo, confirmed the board wanted to speak to six others apart from the three short-listed by the council.

Last week, Harare mayor councillor Bernard Manyenyeni said, “The Urban Councils Act (Section 135) does not provide for such a move. We are considering an appropriate response as informed by the Act.”

Section 135 of the Urban Councils Act says; “(1) The Local Government Board shall interview every person whose name has been submitted to it by council in terms of the part and may;

“(a) Approve a person recommended by the council concerned; or (b) Refuse to approve any person recommended by the council concerned.”

The act also provides that if the board refuses to approve a council recommendation, it should advise the Local Government Minister as such within two months. Harare is looking for a replacement for former banker Mr James Mushore whose appointment Government opposed.

The local authority is set to pay Mr Mushore US$200 000 in salary arrears and benefits.  Since Dr Tendai Mahachi’s unceremonious departure in March 2015, Harare has been without a substantive town clerk with Chamber Secretary Mrs Jospehine Ncube holding forte in an acting capacity.

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