CHINHOYI — Frosty working relations between councillors and newly-appointed acting town clerk Webster Tembo are threatening efficient service delivery in Chinhoyi.
Councillors describe Tembo as Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo’s “blue-eyed boy”.
The 15-member predominantly MDC-T council recently passed a resolution to disregard the appointment of Makonde district administrator Tembo as acting town clerk as well as the ministerial directive over the $2,9 million urgent sewer system overhaul, a move that has led to the suspension of three councillors so far.
Tembo was thrust into the hot seat during the minister’s visit in December which also saw the suspension of mayor Claudius Nyamhondoro for refusing to comply with Chombo’s decree to award the contract to an engineering firm, Destiny Ventures.
Deputy mayor Willie Nyambi and councillor Owen Charuza, who was acting mayor, were also suspended over the same matter.
The MDC-T councillors, led by Nyamhondoro, have taken legal action against what they termed “unconstitutional and unlawful” appointment of Tembo.
“According to the Urban Councils Act, the chamber secretary assumes the role of acting town clerk in the event of the incumbent’s incapacitation.
“Lawfully, chamber secretary Abel Gotora should have continued as acting town clerk.
“Now that the minister preferred to disregard the law, we have decided to take the legal route to resolve the issue.
“We question why the minister is deliberately flouting the law.
“However, for the sake of service delivery, councillors are working with Tembo although under heavy protest,” said a councillor, who requested anonymity.
Town clerk Ezekiel Muringani was fired last week for allegedly making false $12 000 medical aid claims, misappropriation of public funds and dereliction of duty.
But Tembo on Friday said he was firmly in control of the situation and would not be drawn into petty bickering over his new assignment.
“As you can see, I am in office discharging my duties as directed by the minister,” he said.
“Those opposed to my appointment would be opposed to the law itself as a council resolution cannot undo a ministerial directive.”