By Tichaona Sibanda
SW Radio Africa
7 February 2014
A Harare pressure group on Friday led residents in a march to Town House, in a show of support for Mayor Bernard Manyenyeni’s fight cleanse the city council of corruption.
Samuel Mangoma, the acting director of Restoration of Human Rights (ROHR), said reports of gross financial irregularities at town house must be investigated without fear or favour, amid indications Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo is against any probe.
The Mayor of Harare last week suspended the town clerk, Tendai Mahachi, for failing to comply with a directive to furnish council with the salary schedules of all senior council employees.
Less than 48 hours later Chombo, a friend and alleged business partner of Mahachi, directed that he be reinstated before any investigations can be conducted against him, in the process rescinding the Manyenyeni’s decision to suspend him. This move has angered residents who have vowed to fight Chombo tooth and nail to ensure he keeps his hands off council affairs.
Mangoma told SW Radio Africa that corruption at town house has deprived residents of basic services and that their march against corruption was the beginning of big things to come.
‘We went to Town House to show our moral support to the mayor in his gallant fight to rid the council of the rot. The mayor acted within the confines of the constitution to suspend Mahachi and we all knew Chombo would move to protect him.
‘But this time we want to be loud and clear that Chombo must be stopped. He’s a sinner and today’s (Friday)’s event was just the beginning of a long battle ahead to show him he cannot win against millions of Harare residents,’ Mangoma added.
A High Court judge meanwhile has thrown out an application filed by a Harare resident that sought to stop Mahachi from reporting for duty.
Bellinda Chinowawa of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, who filed the application on behalf of resident and ratepayer Tawanda Zhuwarara, said the judge threw out the application because Manyenyeni had already complied with Chombo’s order to reinstate Mahachi.
Despite the setback, other residents are making a statement on the Mahachi saga, like 42 year-old Philosophy Nyapfumbi who has gone on a hunger strike in protest over the reinstatement of the town clerk. The Herald reported that Nyapfumbi vowed he would starve himself until the town clerk was suspended again.
‘I am acting on behalf of all city residents who want Mahachi to remain suspended. I am not saying the Town Clerk is corrupt, but for the city to improve its service delivery which has deteriorated over the years he has to pave way for investigations to be made.
‘I will stay here at Town House and I will only leave when the town clerk is no longer coming to work. Council is failing in waste management, maintaining potholes and even traffic lights while they are paying each other hefty salaries. This has to stop and I am saying no to this,’ Nyapfumbi told the Herald.