Harare councillors are today expected to reverse an earlier resolution to appoint former NMBZ chief executive Mr James Mushore as town clerk, a decision that could trigger a costly lawsuit from the banker who has signed a two-year contract of employment.
An observer said Mr Mushore was likely to demand over $240 000 if he was to relinquish his new post. He was set to earn over $10 000 a month and had already assumed duty.
“As directed by their parent ministry, councillors will convene and reverse the appointment. (MDC leader Morgan) Tsvangirai (Mr) is supporting the idea although publicly it appears otherwise. Acting mayor Councillor Christopher Mbanga will convene a special council meeting tomorrow (today) to reverse the council decision,” said a source.
The source added, “MDC-T councillors have since distanced themselves from the town clerk fiasco, blaming ousted Mayor Clr Bernard Manyenyeni. They do not want to go against Minister (Saviour) Kasukuwere because they know which side their bread is buttered.”
Contacted for comment yesterday, Clr Mbanga refused to shed light on the supposed meeting.
The city is reeling in debt as it is failing to meet its statutory obligations as well as paying its workers’ salaries, with service delivery at its lowest ebb.
Government a fortnight ago rescinded the appointment of Mr Mushore soon after a council meeting that announced his appointment, saying council flouted procedures for appointing a town clerk as outlined in the Urban Councils Act and Local Government Board regulations.
Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Kasukuwere told council the former banker’s appointment was illegal, but it proceeded to give Mr Mushore the job despite disapproval by the Local Government Board.
As a result Mayor Manyenyeni was suspended last week and his deputy Cllr Mbanga has been acting.
Sources close to Town House revealed that although the MDC-T had publicly attacked the suspension of Mayor Manyenyeni for insisting on Mr Mushore’s appointment, party leader Tsvangirai had instructed Cllr Mbanga to convene a meeting and reverse the appointment.
Minister Kasukuwere last week reportedly intended to suspend the whole council but some councillors went to his office and begged for recusal.
This is not the first time Cllr Manyenyeni has clashed with the councillors after he recently came under fire for allegedly defending his nephew, finance director Mr Justin Mandizha, whom councillors alleged failed his probation although he is still in the city’s ranks.
Mr Mandizha’s probation started in September last year and is still to be confirmed eight months on.
He is accused of presiding over the decline in service delivery and ballooning of salary arrears. Cllr Manyenyeni wanted to change the face of council executives by more than 50 percent and it is believed he wanted to recruit people aligned to his party.
Cllr Manyenyeni has denied the allegations.
MDC-T spokesperson Mr Obert Gutu said council decisions were taken after the relevant resolutions were adopted in conformity with the requirements of the law, both substantive and procedural.
“The decision to appoint the new town clerk was unanimously adopted at a full council meeting. It was not the mayor’s personal decision. We know Kasukuwere is desperate to employ the divide and rule tactic at the Harare City Council but then, he can be assured that his patently unconstitutional and illegal actions will be vigorously resisted at law.”
“The MDC will never, ever give in to Kasukuwere’s thuggish and pugilist approach on matters of local governance. He might call himself Tyson the pugilist, but then he has to be reminded that this is not a boxing ring that we are dealing with here,” he said. herald