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Government has suspended Harare Mayor Councillor Bernard Manyenyeni with immediate effect for unprocedurally appointing former NMBZ chief executive Mr James Mushore as the city’s town clerk in violation of the Urban Councils Act.
During his indefinite suspension, Clr Manyenyeni will neither receive allowances nor will he be allowed to conduct council business.
Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Saviour Kasukuwere also threatened to suspend corrupt councillors as he moves in to clean up all local authorities.
Reads Minister Kasukuwere’s letter to Clr Manyenyeni: “I wish to inform you that in terms of Section 114 (1) (d) (ii) of the Urban Councils Act you are hereby suspended from carrying out the functions of the office of Mayor and councillor.
“The grounds for your suspension are that you have, without legal basis, made an employment offer to a person for the position of town clerk without the necessary approval of the Local Government Board as required by the Urban Councils Act as read with Section 265 (1) (b) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.
“You went further and defied a lawfully given instruction by implementing a resolution that had been rescinded in terms of the Urban Councils Act Section 314. You will be brought before a competent authority to answer the allegations above.”
Government rescinded the appointment of Mr Mushore soon after a council meeting that announced his appointment, saying council flouted procedures of appointing a town clerk as outlined in the Urban Councils Act and the Local Government Board.
The minister had told the city that the former banker’s appointment was illegal, but the defiant council proceeded to give Mr Mushore the job.
Mr Mushore was still reporting for duty despite the two orders, with Clr Manyenyeni saying he was waiting for the High Court to rule on the matter.
Contacted for comment yesterday, Clr Manyenyeni said: “I am at peace with myself —very relaxed.”
However, MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai, in a statement yesterday, said his party would approach the High Court “to protect elected councillors”.
“In view of the minister’s (Cde Kasukuwere) threats to the council in Harare, the MDC is mounting an urgent application to the High Court for an interdict to stop the Minister’s action and protect the elected council from his predatory actions. We acknowledge that the judiciary has been consistent on the issue of non-interference by the Minister in the affairs of elected councils.”
“The MDC is sick and tired of Zanu PF leaders who consistently brush the new Constitution aside as ‘just a piece of paper’ and continue to act as if the country did not have a new dispensation.
“The basis of all progress and stability is founded on the rule of law, the independence of the Judiciary and adherence to the precepts of the Constitution. No State can operate effectively without adherence to such principles and rebuilding confidence in Zimbabwe is critically dependent on this issue,” he said.
Council argued that it was guided by the Constitution and devolution of power when it appointed Mr Mushire, saying council was empowered to appoint the town clerk without first recommending suitable candidates to the Local Government Board.
In terms of Section 132 (1) of the Urban Councils Act, a council may only appoint a town clerk after it has received an approved candidate from the Local Government Board.
The city council was expected to make a submission to the Local Government Board as specified in Section 132 (2) and may only appoint a person when the board has given its approval. by Innocent Ruwende -source-Herald