By Tererai Karimakwenda
SW Radio Africa
03 February, 2014
Zimbabweans are being urged to speak out and demand that corrupt officials be made to account for their actions, as drama intensified over the Harare Mayor’s decision to suspend the town clerk, Tendai Mahachi.
The call came from Sesel Zvidzai, the MDC-T shadow Minister for Local Government, who on Monday criticized Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo for interfering in council affairs by reinstating Mahachi.
Mayor Bernard Manyenyeni suspended Mahachi last Thursday, saying the town clerk had refused to comply with a council resolution that required him to provide the salary schedules of top council employees, including his own.
The Mayor said the three month suspension had been done according to the Urban Councils Act. But less than 48 hours later, Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo told reporters that Mahachi had been reinstated.
Speaking to reporters on Saturday, Chombo said: “He has explained to the Mayor and he has also apologized. The Mayor has accepted the apology and I was referee. The Mayor has accepted the apology”.
The Mayor, who was at the press conference, immediately disagreed with Chombo and insisted the suspension had not been reversed.
“Minister I beg to differ on that one. I think we need to engage further. I think lets capitalize on the good will that is existing so far and find a way forward but for now it would be remiss of me to accept that we have reversed that decision,” said the Mayor to Chombo.
“The local government Minister is acting illegally. The employer at the City of Harare is the Council, headed by the Mayor. If the Mayor is not happy with one of the operatives as is the case in this event, he is entitled to deal as he did with Mahachi,” Zvidzai told SW Radio Africa.
He said Mahachi had shown incompetence and a disregard for rules and regulations by refusing to comply with council orders over the issue of salaries.
Zvidzai said Mahachi’s salary, which was reportedly $13,000 as of March last year, was found to be the highest in the region for his kind of job, in a study done by the MDC-T back in 2010. Some media reports said Mahachi may have earned as much as $37,000 per month.
“It’s not about political parties. It’s about a corrupt lot who are benefiting from us allowing them to do so by not acting. The people of Harare, the people of Zimbabwe should rise and say look we won’t have this,” Zvidzai explained.
He said Mayor Manyenyeni had shown the way, but he cannot do it alone.