Town clerk: The search is on

The Sunday Mail (Zimbabwe) - - NEWS - De­bra Matabvu

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

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