Town clerk job: Residents unimpressed

HARARE – Harare City Council (HCC)’s attempts to appoint a substantive town clerk continue to face serious hurdles and this time it is the residents who have voiced concerns over the calibre and crop of the three candidates who have been shortlisted for the post.

This comes as long-serving HCC chamber secretary and acting town clerk — Josephine Ncube and prominent banker Nigel Chanakira — are said to have fallen by the way side.
On Tuesday, a special council meeting announced that the three successful prospective town clerks were Tapiwa Mashakada, Cainos Chingombe and Elizabeth Gwatipedza.

Mashakada is the sitting MDC MP for Hatfield, Chingombe is council’s human capital director and Gwatipenga is town clerk of Gweru.

Combined Harare Residents Association chief executive officer Mfundo Mlilo said while there is a political balance on the list, it is very uninspiring.

Mlilo said there is very little hope that the candidates will be able to live up to the expectations of the residents considering the rot that some of them stand accused of.

“Some of the shortlisted candidates are failures in their own regard and they cannot give us confidence that they will turn around the fortunes of the city,” said Mlilo.

Harare Residents Trust (HRT) said despite the three candidates’ shortcomings, councillors still went on to shortlist them.

The residents’ pressure group said Mashakada is an active politician, Chingombe is yet to answer a slew of allegations raised against him, and Gwatipedza has yet to prove herself in Gweru, a job she has not yet kept for one year.

“At this stage, it needs to be highlighted that Chingombe cost Harare $6 million in wasteful spending on backdated salaries and allowances.

“He has also failed to pay council employees, resulting in six months backlogs. In a government audit report, Chingombe was also the architect of the huge illegal payments made to senior councillors without council approval,” HRT said.

A councillor who spoke to the Daily News said council had actually wasted resources engaging a human resources consultant to hire the new town clerk.

“In all honesty, none of the three will be considered by the Local Government Board (LGB). Mashakada, who came out tops in the interviews, is a known MDC legislator and will not be placed in such a crucial position by the Zanu PF government.

“Chingombe may be lucky if he gets the job but at the moment the salary scandal is hanging over his head, while Gwatipedza has her own scandal allegations at her current position in Gweru,” the councillor said.

Acting mayor Enock Mupamawonde said the process was now out of the hands of council as they had done their part.

“The names of the candidates will be taken to the LGB and the process will now be entirely up to them. We do not know how long it will take but we want it to be done timeously as everyone is eager to see Harare have a substantive town clerk,” he said.

The city has been operating without a substantive town clerk following the firing of Tendai Mahachi in 2015.

Ncube has been acting since.

In 2016, Mushore was appointed town clerk but was suspended two weeks into the job by Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere over the flouting of procedure in the hiring process.

He subsequently lost the job.

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