Harare Deputy Mayor Chris Mbanga staged a coup after sanctioning the disposal of three city properties, commercial and industrial stands through public tender in a bid to raise over $20 million to pay salaries. Mayor Councillor Bernard Manyenyeni had refused to authorise the sale saying the disposal was a rushed transaction for its magnitude, and that the city could not sell its capital assets to fund operational costs.
Sources at Town House said when Clr Manyenyeni refused to sign the resolution, the deputy mayor’s signature was sought.
“Mayor Manyenyeni left the documents on his table without giving reasons as to why he had not signed and went for a workshop in Kariba. Councillors treated the matter with urgency and there was a copy, which was signed by the Finance Committee chairperson Tranos Moyo, which was then given to Clr Mbanga,” said the source.
Clr Manyenyeni confirmed the development. “When l refused to sign it for a number of considerations, the resolution was apparently reprinted and signed by someone else at no regards whatsoever to my objections,” said Clr Manyenyeni.
Clr Manyenyeni said he did not refuse to sign and was now recommending a full council to deliberate on the matter. Contrary to any other indications that I refused to approve the Finance Committee resolution because it was rushed for a transaction of its magnitude, caution was necessary.
“Instead, I am recommending a full council deliberation on the matter. I am not sure if who-ever signed it, just signed it or approved it. “The two are different. The income and expenditure plan stipulated in the Finance Committee resolution was not included,” he said.
He added, “We are disposing of capital assets to fund operational costs and for how long can such a model be sustained when our revenues are declining?”
Clr Manyenyeni said the city must regain stakeholder trust after the Harare Gardens partial sale, which some residents were not happy with, adding that council made the right decision on the matter.
He said he was not convinced that Harare is assessing its financial performances correctly saying that there was no correlation between incomes and expenditures.
“I am keen to see the salary backlog cleared, but it must be done correctly,” he said. Deputy Mayor Mbanga confirmed authorising the sale. “I signed the document authorising the sale when I was acting Mayor, but I signed a lot of documents. Can you get in touch with acting town clerk Mrs Josephine Ncube,” he said.
However, Mrs Ncube could not be reached for comment. Harare is struggling to pay workers’ salaries and provide basic services owing to low revenue and recently, it announced that it would set aside $275 000 daily towards salaries in a bid to reduce arrears of six months.
The city is selling three properties along Luck Street and several open spaces for residential development in Mt Pleasant along Harare Drive, Marlborough, Greendale, Helensvale, Prospect and Quinnington suburbs. herald