Harare councillors yesterday boycotted an Urban Councils Association of Zimbabwe (UCAZ) meeting in Bulawayo after former NMBZ chief executive Mr James Mushore made a surprise appearance to represent the city as its town clerk. Councillors said when they got to Bulawayo City Council, the venue of the meeting, they found Mr Mushore already seated in the venue and they inquired what he was doing in the meeting since Mrs Josephine Ncube was representing the city at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair.
“Mr Mushore said he was the city’s town clerk and he attended the meeting in that capacity. This prompted councillors to request that he be ejected from the meeting, but UCAZ officials said we should go outside together with Mushore and put our house in order.”
“Outside the venue, we told him we did not know him as he was still to go under the recruitment processes and his case was still pending in the courts. “Mushore said he was instructed by suspended Mayor Bernard Manyenyeni to attend the meeting and declined to leave. He went into the meeting and we decided to boycott,” said a councillor.
The councillor said when UCAZ officials realised that the councillors had not returned to the meeting Mr Mushore was also asked to leave. The councillors said they would now seek the help of party leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai.
Mr Mushore confirmed the development and accused acting mayor Clr Christopher Mbanga of “making an unnecessary scene.”
“He stood up in the meeting and said the Harare delegation did not recognise me. UCAZ officials asked us to go outside and resolve the issue.
“Once outside, I told him that I was still going to attend as the town clerk as I can only be dismissed by a council resolution. I went back into the meeting immediately and again Clr Mbanga made the same remarks and we were told to leave the meeting,” he said.
He said it was his constitutional right to report to work and will only stop doing so if the court or council rules otherwise. Clr Mbanga refused to comment. Meanwhile, the Harare Residents Trust claims that most councillors said they had no idea of the contents of the contract that the suspended Mayor Manyenyeni gave to Mr Mushore.
“Councillors in the Human Resources Committee have also not seen the contract.
“If this is true, then the same secrecy that followed the former town clerk Dr Tendai Mahachi will also follow the office of senior council managers whose working conditions and contracts are shrouded in secrecy, resulting in a secret executive payroll being used. There is need for transparency and accountability in the employment of public officials,” said HRT
Councillors are also in the dark and do not know whether finance director Mr Justin Mandizha signed a contract of employment after his contract extension lapsed three months ago. Responding to HRT Clr Manyenyeni said: “I am restrained because I am not in office now. Allay your fears — rest assured that it will not happen. All your questions have answers.”
Government rescinded the appointment of Mr Mushore soon after a council meeting that announced his appointment, saying council flouted procedures of appointing a town clerk as outlined in the Urban Councils Act and the Local Government Board.
Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Saviour Kasukuwere had told the city that the appointment of the former banker was illegal, but the defiant council proceeded to give Mr Mushore the job. herald