30 March 2018

Zimbabwe: City, Local Govt Board On Collision Course

Harare City Council has resolved to challenge the Local Government Board at the Constitutional Court for rejecting all three candidates it submitted for the coveted position of town clerk.

The council argues that it does not have to submit names to the Local Government Board, saying the requirement is unconstitutional.

MDC-T legislator Dr Tapuwa Mashakada was shortlisted for the position after scoring 1 534 points in interviews.

Also shortlisted for the job was Dr Cainos Chingombe and Gweru Town Clerk Mrs Elizabeth Gwatipedza, who scored 1 394 points and 1 228 points, respectively

Addressing a special council meeting on Tuesday, Harare Mayor Councillor Bernard Manyenyeni read a letter from the Local Government Board outlining the reasons for its refusal to approve the three candidates.

"Be advised that the board conducted the interviews on the recommended three candidates," said Cllr Manyenyeni.

"The result was none of the candidates were successful for the following reasons; Dr Cainos Chingombe, the board resolved that he continues as director human capital and concentrates on putting his department in order while working as a team with council leadership.

"On Ms Gwatipedza, the board said she needs to concentrate on achieving results in Gweru where she had been town clerk for 11 months, hence it is imperative for her to gain more experience in her current position before aspiring to be chief executive officer for a city such as Harare."

On Dr Mashakada, the board said his curriculum vitae did not offer a concrete history in an appropriate executive management position, hence his experience was nowhere near what was required for a town clerk of the capital city.

The decision did no go down well with councillors, who took turns to accuse the Local Government Board of politicking and unprofessionalism.

Cllr Peter Moyo said the reasons given by the Local Government Board were not convincing and proposed that council advertise the post internally.

"It is a stupid excuse they are giving," he said.

"This is the problem with politicians interfering with local authorities. They refused the first batch of names and now the second and there is no guarantee they will accept any future list."

Cllr Herbert Gomba said council had to do the process again and also doubted the credibility of the Local Government Board.

"As council, we recognise the role of the board, they are entitled to their opinion and we are also entitled to our opinion," he said.

"To avoid complicating the issue, the Human Resources and General Purposes committees should reset the process."

Human Resources and General Purposes chairperson Cllr Wellington Chikombo said he did not have problems with re-advertising, but the board should be challenged.

"I do know what we must do to quench their insatiable thirst," he said.

"City of Harare deserves a town clerk, the Local Government Board needs to be chlorinated and fumigated because it is full of people who are unprofessional. Vanoda town clerk anobva kudenga here?"

Deputy Mayor Cllr Enock Mupamawonde said there no guarantee that the board would approve any future list. "It is my view that we re-advertise the post, while at the same time we mount a court challenge against the Local Government Board decision," he said.

Council resolved to challenge the board at the Constitutional Court and to re-advertise the post.

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