URBAN Councils Association of Zimbabwe (UCAZ) president Bernard Manyenyeni has taken a dig at the majority of aspiring councillors in this month’s polls, saying they were driven by greed and not committed to genuine service delivery.
By Nokuthaba Dlamini
The outgoing Harare mayor said this during a UCAZ executive committee meeting in Victoria Falls on Friday, where it was revealed that a record 346 candidates had registered to contest Harare’s 46 wards, with 75 eyeing Victoria Falls’ 11 wards.
“Being a councillor has become a job and a means of a living, a career, business and a pension when it’s supposed to be a service,” he said.
“Now, being a councillor has become the biggest job that we now do with minimum qualifications or with no qualification. You just have to have a degree in breathing and be over 21 years, but historically, it was for people who had something to offer in terms of their background in education, training and exposure to serve the city. Quite a number of councillors have nothing to offer except their bodies. They are not coming on particular strength or particular lines of confidence that I am a coming as a specialist around conservation, around water, law, health, finances. The capacity side is not on their CVs, so it’s the most difficult job that requires less qualification,” Manyenyeni said.
After a long debate on the issue of alderman status, Manyenyeni said they had invited three former council specialists for guidance in dealing with the matter, as one could not be automatically conferred that status without a proper portfolio.
“In terms of issues around alderman status, there are two issues that are requiring clarification. The first one is while the Local Government Act prescribes a minimum period of 10 years, that is only a minimum qualifying criterion. There is the further requirement that you must be nominated and motivated to be awarded and conferred the status of alderman. Ten years is the minimum, it is not the entitlement. Motivation must be made and council must approve.
“The other issue is whether he/she should continue on the token of being given a tea set as exit or financial package.
So those are two issues under discussion. We have sought the wisdom of one former Harare mayor and two former town clerks, Mike Ndubiwa and Moffat Ndlovu, and they will guide us both to confirm whether the 10 years is the minimum and the justification for financial reward attaching to the confinement of alderman status.”