Harare councillors have clashed with Mayor Councillor Bernard Manyenyeni after he subverted a council resolution by appointing his own team to investigate reports that some companies contracted to repair roads under the $17 million Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme lack capacity.
The investigation was prompted by reports that some of the contractors failed to meet deadlines and some repaired roads were already in a sorry state.
However, recent reports say workers in the city’s Works Department had been demanding kickbacks to process documents for contractors to be paid.
Council had resolved that Clr Manyenyeni picks two councillors from the Environment Management Committee to be part of the investigation committee but he picked Clr Rusty Markham and Clr Innocent Maseko from different committees.
At a full council meeting, Acting Mayor Clr Enock Mupamawonde explained that Clr Manyenyeni had explained that the decision was in line with good corporate governance since the Environment Management Committee was in charge of the department which carried out road maintenance.
The councillors, however, argued that Clr Manyenyeni had no mandate to change a council resolution.
Ward 9 Clr Stewart Mutizwa said the mayor did not have such powers.
“The Mayor does not have executive powers. He should have come to council if he had any issues.”
Environment Management Committee chairperson Clr Herbert Gomba said it was important to religiously follow the requirements of policy.
“It is unlawful there is need to follow proper channels,” he said.
Ward 33 Clr Oddrey Chirombe said: “We should re-appoint if there are any legal issues to be considered. We stand guided by our legal team.”
Following similar submissions council resolved that it re-appoints two councillors from the Environment Management Committee to be part of the team with Clr Mupamawonde conceding that Cllr Manyenyeni had erred.
Asked why he had overturned a council resolution Clr Manyenyeni said his decision was in line with good corporate governance.
“It is the normal job of the Environment Management Committee, so they cannot deploy their own people to do their own probe which they are going to be recipients of the report, sit on it and get paid for it,” he said.
Clr Manyenyeni said the city will have a tainted image if it operates that way.
Meanwhile, the city has denied reports that the US embassy constructed the road (Lorraine Drive) leading to their offices.
The social media is awash with messages urging the city to emulate the work presumably done by the em- bassy.
“The road was done by one of our contractors (Fossil Construction) and not by the US embassy,” said council.