Harare town clerk’s recruitment bid in limbo

Clr Manyenyeni

Clr Manyenyeni

Innocent Ruwende Herald Reporter—
HARARE City Council’s renewed effort to recruit a new town clerk hangs in the balance following revelations that council disregarded Government’s directive on the composition of the interviewing panel. Last year, Government rescinded the appointment of former banker Mr James Mushore as town clerk after the city again failed to follow procedures outlined in the Urban Councils Act.

According to a circular dated September 22, 2017 written to all local authorities on the recruitment and selection functions within urban local authorities, professionals should be engaged to conduct such interviews. But Harare’s interviewing panel comprised 10 MDC-T and one ZANU-PF councillor from the human resources and general purposes committee. However, the circular stipulates that only one member from the committee can be involved in the recruitment process.

“It is of concern to the Ministry that there is growing involvement of councillors in administrative matters where the Urban Councils Act and the tenets of good governance clearly assign the functions to the executive of council,” reads the circular. To avoid any further confusion the following procedure is set down for councillors to ensure separation of powers. The interview for the town clerk/secretary should be carried out by a panel of professionals with chairperson of committee responsible for human resources matters as a member. The interview panel would make recommendations to council.”

Harare mayor councillor Bernard Manyenyeni, however, said he had objected to the “last-minute” circular. “I objected to the last-minute circular from the Ministry which caused the cancellation of interviews two weeks ago,” he said. The Harare Residents Trust (HRT), a non-Governmental organisation, weighed in, saying that the major blemish to the recruitment process was the composition restructure of the panel that superintended over process.

Having been made up of mostly MDC-T councillors, HRT said, members were expected to act in a manner consistent with their respective party’s directive. “This will compromise on the otherwise good process of choosing the best candidate to be the next town clerk for Harare City Council. Even if the majority councillors were from ZANU-PF, it is genuinely feared that they will also attempt to impose their own, and that is not good for the local Government sector,” said HRT.

As expected, MDC-T legislator Dr Tapuwa Mashakada was short-listed for the position of Harare City Council town clerk. Dr Mashakada, who is also economic advisor to MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai, scored 1 534 points in interviews. Also short-listed for the job was Dr Cainos Chingombe and current Gweru town clerk Mrs Elizabeth Gwatipedza, who scored 1 394 points and 1 228 points, respectively.

On Friday last week, Local Government, Rural Development and National Housing Minister Saviour Kasukuwere effectively disqualified MDC-T legislator Dr Tapuwa Mashakada, who had been short-listed for the coveted post. He indicated that it was against both the Constitution and “common sense” for a career politician to take the administrative post. Without referring to Dr Mashakada by name, Minister Kasukuwere said politicians that aspired for the top job had to first resign from their political parties and relinquish their parliamentary seats.

Minister Kasukuwere was speaking while addressing delegates at a joint meeting of provincial and district administrators, chief executives, town clerks and secretaries in Harare.

Article Source: The Herald