Proposed town clerk rotation unlawful

Municipal Reporter
Harare City Council has stopped plans of rotating directors to act in the position of town clerk as temporary replacements for ousted Dr Tendai Mahachi because the move is illegal.

The city had resolved that human capital director Dr Cainos Chingombe, director health services Dr Prosper Chonzi and corporate services and housing director Mrs Josephine Ncube be allowed to act as town clerk on a rotational basis of three months each.

But the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing advised council that the move was ultra vires the Urban Councils Act, which says the chamber secretary should act.

Harare mayor Bernard Manyenyeni confirmed the development, but said he was not part of the meeting which made the decision.

“I had previously notified the councillors that I was not going to sign any letter appointing anyone to act as town clerk other than the chamber secretary,” he said.

According to the recent minutes of the Human Resources and General Purposes Committee, corporate services and housing director Mrs Ncube had implored councillors to be cognisant of Section 137 (2) of the Urban Councils Act when making a decision in respect of the town clerk position.

She said council could not rotate the directors in respect of the town clerk post as long as the provision of the Act was still in operation and it would be ultra vires the Urban Councils Act, which says the chamber secretary should act.

During a recent full council meeting, chairperson of the Human Resources and General Purposes Committee councillor Wellington Chikombo said the city did not have a chamber secretary after Mrs Ncube’s position was changed to corporate services and housing director during the rationalisation exercise.

“Councillor Peter Moyo then proposed, seconded by councillor Wilton Janjazi that in respect of the position of Grade 1 Mrs Ncube, Dr Chingombe and Dr Chonzi be allowed to act as town clerk on a rotational basis for three months each with immediate effect in that order,” read part of the minutes.

Clr Manyenyeni sent Dr Mahachi on an indefinite leave in July for reportedly stalling the city’s succession plan and rationalisation of executive salaries.