New Zimbabwe (London)

Zimbabwe: Mayor Defies Chombo Over Top Cat Town Clerk

HARARE Mayor Bernard Manyenyeni has defied a shock order by Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo to reinstate the council's chief executive who was suspended to allow investigations into his pay package.

Town Clerk Tendai Mahachi was last week suspended for three months following allegations he and top subordinates earned about $37,000 each per month while ordinary workers went without pay at a time the council was also failing to deliver basic services.

However, Chombo intervened to announce that an agreement had been reached with the mayor for Mahachi to return to work adding apologies had been made and accepted between the Town Clerk and his boss.

The minister also claimed reports Mahachi was earning just over $37,000 were incorrect but revealed that his pay had been reduced to $14,800 and most of his benefits scrapped.

On Monday Manyenyeni however said the Town Clerk remained suspended.

"I am the one who suspended him and I am the one who will reinstate him and that I have not done so yet," he said.

"I have written to him informing him that the suspension still stands. I only heard that he was seen at work (on Monday) and I do not know what he was doing or if he is still there as I speak."

The mayor also denied apologising to Mahachi and said he would be meeting ministry officials on Tuesday.

"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 (on Tuesday) morning over the issue. But as things stand at council Dr Mahachi is still suspended."

Chombo's decision to reinstate Mahachi was criticised by groups representing residents in the capital.

Said Harare Residents Trust (HRT) director Precious Shumba: "Minister Chombo must not play spoiler by interfering with lawful investigations being carried out by Harare residents through their elected representatives.

"HRT strongly suspects the minister has a lot to hide by trying to stop the residents from getting a full account of how their money is being spent."

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