Power struggle hampers service delivery


The action taken by Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo to reinstate suspended town clerk Tendai Mahachi barely 72 hours after he was suspended by Harare mayor Bernard Manyenyeni confirms that the major problem affecting all councils in Zimbabwe is the presence of two contradicting centres of power.

NewsDay Editorial

Whereas the mayor and his councillors, referred to as the city fathers, have power vested upon them by city residents through a popular vote, the responsible minister represents a central government that is, for political control and patronage, wary of devolving power to local authorities.

Mahachi was suspended for negligence and failure to give effect to a council resolution on the disclosure of management salaries which the city fathers were investigating in the face of obscene salaries unearthed in other State-linked organisations.

Documents had shown the town clerk and his cabal of managers was living on the gravy train while service delivery was worsening.

Chombo’s doublespeak in which he reverses the mayor’s disciplinary action at the same time imploring the same town clerk to obey the mayor shows that he wants to be seen to be the one calling the shots at Town House.

But, by so doing, he has cultivated a culture of insubordination in which city managers become unanswerable to their employer, but only to him. He has undermined the representatives of the residents of Harare; in other words he has subverted the authority of the voters.

When city managers disrespect elected councillors who are supposed to superintend service delivery on a day-to-day basis and pander to the whims of central government, service delivery suffers; managers do as they please because the minister has guaranteed their impunity.

High wage bills that are not in tandem with the Urban Councils Act have always been cited as one of the major causes of poor service delivery.

Because of the high wage bills, councils find themselves hamstrung financially resulting in lack of adequate funds to service ratepayers’ needs.

The wage bills in most of the local authorities do not conform to the legal 70%:30% ratio for service delivery and salaries respectively.

It boggles the mind then when the minister seems bent on frustrating those who want to correct this anomaly which results in local authorities failing to effectively executive their core duties.

Chombo should let those who are behaving in a manner that compromises service delivery in town councils face the music.

If Mahachi is innocent of any offence, investigations would have exonerated him.

It raises a stink when the minister blocks moves to probe such people who defy full council resolutions in order to hide bad things within public entities like city councils.


  1. Saka zvose zvinokoromoka muma kanzuru toti maMDC councils . Bodo ndaramba . Wonayi kuno buda nezuva. Zuva hari budi nekuma dokero. Mwari pindirayi.

  2. It paints the generality of us all Zimbabweans accepting to bear he brunt of this silly politiking by Chombo as idiots.Lets refuse to pay rates until and only until a thorough clean up has taken place in at town house and Chombo must go.All ill gotten wealth must be confiscated and be returned to the rightful owners the people of Zimbabwe.

  3. When our elected officials are rendered powerless by an egomaniacal minister who condones incompetence and plays politics with our lives, we must fight back. Chombo is a law unto himself, but the laws of Zimbabwe say the mayor was correct. Take Chombo to court and slsp him back into his place. Action not words will straighten him.

  4. No surprises here on Chombo reinstating Mahachi,the town clerk is Chombos point man involved in corrupt deals at town house,he is there to protect Chombos interests at town house and also most importantly Zanu pf interests therefore you will see Mahachi defying the mayor and the councillors and intentionally stalling service delivery so that the MDCT councillors fail to deliver and come election time residents will blame MDCT.Removing Mahachi would also expose Chombos corrupt deals involving Harare land.For me Chombo is one of the most corrupt people in this country.

  5. gore richasvinura mazimbos chombo uchamhanya nespeed yembwa 3.maiti tainyepa kut nyaya yemastands kuchitungza ndichombo namabamba agent yake.mahachi iagent yake hapana council yaasina agent zim yose

  6. Its been known &its a fact that chombo is incorrigible corrupt,but despite that he retained his post!saka zvakutoda vanhu kuti varitidze masimba nekodzero dzavo kubvisa huhori hwakadai.

  7. The rot began in the head and there is no way you can correct the body without fixing the head. Mugabe as the leader is ultimately responsible.

  8. i think here the buck stops with Chombo ‘s superior.the President must put his foot down on this one least he tarnishes his name and people start to think he is in this with Chombo.

  9. Really chombo’s behaviour is unbecoming. Jonathan did sterling job, unearthing what webster shamhu was sitting on. Now the mayor wants to unearth a scam at Harare City, but the minister blocks everything. These are the dangers of recycling ministers, they always want to cover their tracks. Chombo was once implicated in a land scams in urban centres, no wonder he wants to gain favours from town clerks. KUCHAZOVE RIINHI MAZIMBABWE PATICHADAIDZIRA KUTI TIWANE ZVATINOFANIRA KUWANA. Soon we should say enough is enough. ZBC, PSMAS, AirZim, NRZ, ZMDC, ZINARA, state universities etc were looted and some are still being looted with blessings from the greedy ministers who are being recycled.

  10. Hapana nyaya apo Chombo is right, ka mdct mayaor kenyu kakapaparika nenyaya isina maturo. typical of these idiots voted into office by an equally idiotic electorate.

  11. minister chombo is protecting mahachi coz
    vari kudya vese,he was suspended for investigation
    iye chombo oti nooooooo.
    ndiye ari kuvaudza kuti vabe at the the expense of
    service delivery.they both need to be fired.

  12. Chombo is right. You can’t suspend Mahachi cause haana kukupa salary structure. Suspending without consulting the Hon Minister, that’s totally wrong. Manyenyeni igovernment here. To hell with him fokoro

    • The suspension was consistent with the Urban Councils Act Section 139 which gives the local
      authority the mandate to suspend the town clerk.

      The provision on Subsection (3) states that: “If it appears to the mayor or chairman, as the case may be, that the town clerk of the council has been guilty of such conduct that it is desirable that the town clerk should not be permitted to carry on his work, he—
      (a) may suspend the town clerk from office and require him forthwith to leave his place of work; and
      (b) shall forthwith notify the council or, in the case of a municipality, executive committee, in writing, of such suspension and cause the suspension to be reported to the council at the first opportunity.”
      I’m failing to see where the minister is being mentioned either for consultation or reporting. The mayor should jstr report to the minister as his boss for information not action. Thats what they do, we have the same problem in zimpost where the minister encouraged the Managing Director to appeal and appeal instead of giving workers salary increment since 2009.

  13. This pompous and arrogant little prick, Chombo is the first that should be on the list forensic investigations for corruption and it would not even require too much digging either!! The world must laugh at the gross incompetence and idiocy of the country’s managers from Mugabe down the file to all these state enterprises! what a sick and degrading joke!

  14. the minister of local government and public works have got too much powers to the detriment of good governance…… DISCUSS

  15. Ladies and gentlemen i would like to refer to you an article in todays Herald: Makoni can save MDC by non other than MAI jukwa. I found the article to be well thot out and factual. Please read it and contribute to the current debate with its substance in mind. Please read the article and not comment on the heading as most zimbos are used to. Thanks

  16. Those two comments by Zvamada and Reason clearly show that we still have Zimbabweans who are very dull and shallow minded,if its your support for zanu pf,I pitty both of you for your blind support of a minister who has single handedly destroyed service delivery in all councils and whose corrupt tendencies are there for all to see except the two of you.No sane person can support Chombo for all the damage he has caused in councils.Even some die hard zanu pf right thinking people won’t support this nonsense.With people like the two of you Zimbabwe will need 500 years to become a better country to live.God have mercy on the two of you.

  17. Irrigation water reticulation engineers,Consultancy, designs ,boreholes, RAINGUN SPRINKLERS !!overhead irrigation, drip irrigation, pump experts- installation, repairs, trolleys (portable), pivots, pipeline survey and installation, garden irrigation, booster pumps,maintenance,surface irrigation, tanks and tank stands.Thinking Long term & Reducing Costs . rainflotech@yahoo.com 0715415931; 0773 528 045

  18. Was Mahachi not insurbordinate? And what the law say about this never mind the childish coverup that the figures out there included backpay..what back pay? And in any case how come the Minister who says this is not forthcoming with the figure for the Town Clerk like what Bulawayo and Kwekwe have done? This is not a ZANU issue, far from it..this is a Chombo issue. He is simply pulling his own chestnuts out of the fire..Such arrogance in the middle of this mess will extract justice in its own way down the line. Whatever Chombo’s hand is in this gory saga..please divorce it from ZAUN..I am sure the party might have looked the other way before but I dont think even would be this stupid to follow Chombo into this smelly hole. While at it, why is former MDC parastatal minister trying to be clever by half without providing evidence that he was blocked by ZANU from doing his work..Why dont you ‘leak’ the schedule which you should have as Minister responsible..and why are we hearing about this now when MDC is no longer in government..Why not just shut up rather than insult people’s intelligence?

    • I read the article..must say it was a surprise. I dont know whether Makoni has the gravitas to pull this off, but the writer did present some interesting possibilities. Many thanks.

      • @kiro- The trajectory taken by the Herald in the past few days should send alarm bells ringing across newsrooms at Newsday and Daily News..It appears not content with getting scoop after scoop on this ‘dhora mubhegi’ scandals they are openning themselves up to total diversity of opinion. The other daily better pray real hard this shortlived otherwise they have to really PULL them socks up!

  19. Typical Chombo behaviour, he always needs a point man through which he milks a poor councils. Remember he tried to foist a ‘special interest’ councillor by the name Charles Nyachowe who had no basis to be in council!!!Typical!

  20. i think the minister as a politician should respond to the residents outcry surely if the Town Clerk is taking home $37k summing up to $500k for the top management at the expense of the other 10 000 workers and rates payers makes a sad reading, but it is also clear that the town clerk is not stealing the money hence suspension based on lake of furnishing of salary schedules only may not be the proper response i would suggest a countrywide voluntary salary reduction in response to low revenues being received on all councils since it is not a secret that residents have no money therefore to continue spending as was the case a year or a couple of years ago could be unwise

    Yes the minister having drastically affected the revenue base of many local authorities by enforcing cancellation of due debts the results is now there for everyone to see generally people are no longer honoring they debts. cities and towns infrastructural free falling, no salaries for workers, no refuse removal, bad roads, street lighting is now nobodies business(who cares), no water, non functioning city, filthy is the order of the day yet someone takes home $37k

Comments are closed.