NEWSPAPER pages have been bristling with the matter of former Harare town clerk, Tendai Mahachi, from his initial suspension, subsequent firing to the golden handshake amount that shook the nation.
It would appear much time, during Mahachi’s tenure, was spent on things that had little to do with advancing the cause of the city. The time has come for the city to be seconded to someone who possesses intimate knowledge of the local authority’s systems.
This is a critical job and politics and populism should stay at bay in light of the delicate task ahead of selecting the most appropriate candidate for the demanding job. This is a job whose essence should be based on delivery and nothing else. The position requires someone who is committed to service delivery. It is not so much about intellectual brilliance as it is about producing results on the ground.
The city desperately needs a game-changer, an innovator and a creative person who can deal impartially with businesspersons, government officials, civic organisations and the ordinary man regardless of political persuasion, colour, creed or social standing. Now that the ruckus surrounding the former town clerk has been conclusively dealt with, it is time for a deep introspection to be made towards ushering in a leadership that will change the city’s fortunes, a leadership that will spearhead transformation of the city. A leadership not tainted by corruption, a leadership whose capabilities are a matter of record and a leadership that understands the systems. In this regard, one huge blunder that can be made in choosing the next town clerk would be picking someone who will require time to master the systems of the local authority. The city, in my view, requires someone who has a solid grasp of everyday council business who can, with relative ease, appreciate how a city is run.
Bringing in a new candidate from outside would be a needless waste of resources and a real demotivating factor since the person would naturally make costly mistakes while the council bleeds. Council has more than capable minds to turn around its fortunes.
Harare has no time for people trying to understand systems. The city has been groaning for years under improper administration.
In my view, laying politics aside, there can be no better game-changer, innovator and more qualified leadership than the man who saved Harare City Council of thousands of dollars by bringing down the previous top-heavy structure from a superfluous 15 directors to a leaner seven directors. Current human capital and public safety director, Cainos Chingombe’s record speaks for itself. He is the man who transformed the entire council through the restructuring exercise that reduced the council’s wage bill and expenditure to reasonable levels. Chingombe also authored the well-known document that seeks to transform Harare to a world-class city by 2025.As a director, his ideas have at times not seen full implementation and in all fairness the man would work wonders if given the opportunity to take his ideas to the conclusive stages.
For years council had many people in leadership who just went with the tide and it is through Chingombe’s years of leadership that a meaningful restructuring exercise benefited council. He has changed the game in the past and the man may just be what the city needs. He has a strong managerial background reinforced by equally strong qualifications in public administration and corporate governance. His innovativeness saw, for the first time ever in council history, an effort to foster team building within the local authority by introducing a sports day event.
The last one was held in Belgravia and was attended by Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere and Public Service minister Prisca Mupfumira. The noble idea will see the incorporating of all 32 local authorities in the future. This is the creativity and innovation needed.
As things stand, the city has countless areas crying for attention, from erratic refuse collection, lawless kombi drivers, to the vendor menace in the central business district. There is little doubt Chingombe, given his accomplishments so far, would be the apt candidate to turn the tide in the city’s favour. While it must be agreed that people have a constitutional right to hold and express different opinions, it is doubly crucial that matters pertaining to selection of critical positions such as that of town clerk should be guided by principle, not general ideas or politics.
It is sad, seeing as it is that Harare had become known for the endless squabbles pertaining to the office of the town clerk instead of energy being expended on turn-around strategies. The spirit which should guide the selection of the next town clerk should rise above petty considerations and focus on value delivery.
The city is in dire need of brains that will bring real transformation and if objectivity should win the day, Chingombe would be the man to carry on with the cutting-edge programmes he engineered as a director.
lLearnmore Zuze is a legal researcher, author and media analyst. He writes here in his own capacity. E-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org