HARARE MAYOR Bernard Manyenyeni on Wednesday irked several councillors when he insinuated that they were “uneducated” and that some of them did not deserve to be voted back in 2018.
BY MOSES MATENGA
Manyenyeni said this during a cocktail party in Harare where he called on voters to instead elect skilled people that are non-partisan to become city fathers come 2018.
He said running of councils needed educated people like lawyers and doctors, suggesting it were better to include non-partisan, non-political councillors if elected councillors did not have the requisite skills.
But, his statements angered some of the councillors who attended the cocktail. They were overhead whispering that the mayor’s statement was a direct attack on councillors who lacked educational qualifications.
“For the success of future councils my advice for post 2018 elections to political parties is that they should start scouting for councillors and mayors now,” Manyenyeni said.
“In 1927 Harare had two lawyers in council — nearly 90 years later the entire country has only one lawyer out of over 2 000 councillors. I would favour the inclusion of a non-partisan, non-political basis of individuals with minimum key skills that are critical to our tour of duty,” he said.
Manyenyeni said not less than one third of city fathers must be people that are able to present strong business credentials, academics, engineers, lawyers, finance persons, health specialists and others.
“When this is not achievable or achieved through electoral processes, modalities for accommodating special skills councillors must be found. 2018 is around the corner and it is time to look for new councillors. I prefer non-political actors, but with expertise. You can’t expect me for example, to supervise Dr (Prosper) Chonzi when I am not a doctor and when I do not know the difference between ARVs and aspirin,” he said.
After saying this, councillors whispered to journalists saying Manyenyeni was attacking them and that his statement was in bad taste.
“Does he want us to give you our CVs so that you know that we are educated? Why did he say that, what is he trying to prove?” whispered one councillor while others uttered inaudible statements in protest.
Several councillors are believed to have a modest educational background while most of them are flocking to different colleges to try and further their studies.
Manyenyeni’s CV is loaded with a good educational background and professional qualifications after having served for several years at big financial and insurance companies.
During the meeting, the Mayor also spoke of the successes the city had gone through in the city centre and water provision.