Town clerk: The search is on
Indications from the Local Government Ministry are that any career politician will likely have a bid for the job of town clerk blocked. Dr Mashakada is MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai’s economic advisor and has been known as a politician for the better part of the last two decades.
ACROSS the Sunshine City, Harare, ratepayers are demanding improvements in service delivery. Pertinent issues such as water provision, refuse collection, street lighting and road maintenance require urgent attention.
This asks for a change-driven town clerk to achieve tangible results.
The Town House chief executive officer is supposed to be focused on delivering results to appease disgruntled ratepayers.
Ever since the unceremonious departure of corruption-accused former Town Clerk Dr Tendai Mahachi in June 2015, the local authority has been hunting for his successor.
Dr Mahachi’s legacy has largely been a trail of corruption accusations in tendering processes. Service delivery nose-dived under his watch. Council workers went for several months without receiving salaries and they are still owed.
Questions abound then as to who can transform the capital into a world class city by 2025.
The search for Dr Mahachi’s successor is on. Initially, 60 applicants were vetted and trimmed to three.
But prior to this process, six people rotated as acting Town Clerks as departmental directors swopped roles. Then banker Mr James Mushore was appointed to the post last year although it was short-lived.
He was fired within hours of assuming the post and is currently demanding US$200 000 in salary arrears and benefits.
As the Mushore era passed, Mrs Josephine Ncube was named Acting Town Clerk and participated in the interviews for the coveted post.
She battled it out with the 60 prospective candidates although Gweru Town Clerk Elizabeth Gwatipedza, Harare council director human capital Dr Cainos Chingombe and politician Dr Tapiwa Mashakada prevailed and had their names forwarded to the Local Government Board.
Indications from the Local Government Ministry are that any career politician will likely have a bid for the job of town clerk blocked.
Dr Mashakada is MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai’s economic advisor and has been known as a politician for the better part of the last two decades.
On the other hand, ratepayers are not flattered by the list of three candidates. They are expecting much more.
Combined Harare Residents’ Association chairperson Mr Mfundo Mlilo says: “The list is not inspiring. Dr Cainos Chingombe has been part of Harare City Council for a long time; he is not likely to bring anything new.
“Mrs Gwatipedza is the Gweru town clerk and she has not done anything to win our confidence. If she failed in a small city like Gweru, will she succeed in Harare? Dr Mashakada was a minister but he does not have local government experience. He is a career politician and that is likely to disqualify him.
“Residents demand efficient service delivery and none of these candidates can give us what we want.”
Harare residents have for long complained about erratic water supplies, uncollected garbage resulting in typhoid cases in some suburbs.
Flouting of procurement procedures has tainted the image of the local authority and something must be done to clean up the mess.
For the ratepayers, all hope is not lost. All they want is a competent and corruption-free town clerk with their best interests at heart.
Dr Cainos Chingombe
Dr Tapiwa Mashakada
Ms Elizabeth Gwatipedza
Former Town Clerk Dr Tendai Mahachi