Zimbabwe: Troubled Harare Hunts for Chamber Secretary

Harare City Council, which is facing a litany of lawsuits from its former employees and stakeholders, has started hunting for a chamber secretary, while it also aims to appoint substantive directors of finance, human capital and water, among other senior positions.

Residents have criticised the council for operating without substantive directors, a situation they say is being exploited by councillors to manipulate acting officials into approving dodgy deals.

Mr Charles Kandemiri has been the acting chamber secretary since the suspension and subsequent resignation of Ms Josephine Ncube over allegations of incompetence and receiving improper payments without council approval.

In a statement yesterday, council called for applications for the position of chamber secretary.

“The position exists to guide and manage the overall provision of legal, secretarial, transport and public safety services, policies, and programmes for the entire council, fostering strong adherence to statutes, regulations and administrative standards that support council’s strategic plans, serves on the executive committee advising on all legal, administrative and corporate governance issues,” said the council.

The Harare Residents Trust (HRT) said operating without substantive office bearers was benefiting corrupt councillors who were finding it easier to manipulate bureaucrats without substantive authority.

“Officials in acting capacities always dance to the tune of the councillors, especially those in the Human Resources and General Purposes Committee who authorise declaration of vacancy and advertise them,” said HRT.

HRT said acting officials also played a major role in determining who became the substantive office bearer before the lists were submitted to the Local Government Board.

The last substantive finance director was Mr Justin Mandizha before Mr Tendai Kwenda was elevated to the acting position only to be removed.

Mr Stanley Ndemera is the acting finance director.

Human capital director Mr Cainos Chimombe is on suspension, and was replaced by Mr Matthew Marara, who was also suspended and has a pending court case for alleged criminal abuse of office.

Engineer Mabhena Moyo is acting water director, with his appointment on a substantive basis awaiting approval by the Local Government Board.

Without substantive authority, Eng Moyo is reportedly constrained in terms of playing oversight over other engineers and managers in the Department of Water.

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