HARARE – Harare mayor Bernard Manyenyeni is now back at work following the end of his 45-day suspension for insubordination.
Manyenyeni was suspended by Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere on charges that he had unprocedurally appointed ex-banker James Mushore as the capital city’s town clerk.
When contacted for comment yesterday Manyenyeni said he will have a relook into the contentious town clerk issue that has divided council along political lines.
“During my so-called suspension, I met up with a lot of stakeholders who disregarded the suspension. I did a lot of work during my time away from the mayoral parlour,” Manyenyeni said.
Indeed, during his suspension Manyenyeni received a lot of support, including from residents’ associations who launched a campaign, #Ready4MyMayor, as they challenged the Local Government Amendment Bill, that vests power in the ministry of Local Government to tinker with local authorities willy-nilly.
Harare Metropolitan Residents Forum (Hamref) spokesperson Marvellous Kumalo said the move to suspend Manyenyeni was a political stance to fight the opposition stronghold in urban areas.
“We are not saying #Ready4MyMayor just because it is … Manyenyeni but because it is a clear political move and we do not support such tactics,” Kumalo said.
Tendai Muchada of Zimcodd said the Local Government Amendment Bill submitted by Kasukuwere allows him to hire and fire elected officials and appoint commissions — something he said is unconstitutional.
Pointing out to the 2005 scenario when Harare was manned by appointed commissions, Muchada said there is a danger that government is seeking to turn back the hands of time.
“Over 4 000 people died of cholera, mainly because of mismanagement of council clinics which were under non-elected commissions that neglected health issues. Commissions do not have a good track record in Harare,” Muchada said.
Harare West legislator Jessie Majome said the Local Government Amendment Bill is an insult.
She said the Bill is unconstitutional as it only seeks to deal with Manyenyeni while leaving out pertinent issues such as devolution.
She added that Kasukuwere’s Bill was hurriedly done only to addresses issues of firing councillors while matters to do with provincial councils and the five percent budget allocations to provinces are left out.