Town clerk: Time Harare gets game-changer

Learnmore Zuze

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.


  1. Non-performers and corrupt to the CORE are preferred.

    Submit your CV and applications now, remember an updated political attachment is required.

  2. Am a council employee having worked for the organisation for a record 29years ,the article by Learnmore Zuze ,Time harare gets a game-changer makes interest reading and can not go unchallenged.What zuze should understand is that both Cainos Chimombe and Tendai Mahachi have been total failures in their capacities.I for one would like to highlight few issues for Mr Zuze why the city does not need a person like Chimombe

    1.Chimombe did not formulate the city’s vision,when he joined council the city had the same vision which was ‘vision 2015’ what the council did was just to extend its vision by 10 years,i don’t see his hand on that.

    2.the so called restructuring exercise has not paid any dividend save to say it was a council can someone claim that the city of harare was transformed when an employee who was retired last year in April has not recieved his/her benefits its not proper Mr zuze

    3.Can Chimombe explain today why he wanted to dismiss 3 000 employees without the knowledge of other directors.

    4.Can chimombe explain why he has got a personal lawyer employed by council,when we have a legal division

    5.This one is a joke kkkkkkk when i joined council in 1986, wednesday has always been reserved for sports and its purpose was to foster team building within the local is known as sports day like you rightly say.

    6.The erratic service delivery that you witness was/is caused by Cainos through the so callled rationalisation excercise,were he is just moving staff from one department to the a plumber is moved from harare water to work in the treasury department.HOW DO JUSTIFY SUCH A MOVE Mr Zuze

    I would like to urge my brother Zuze to have a bigger picture on this issue,it is good you have intiated this debate which will help to shape our City.Am talking from experience and if you were to do an opinion survery within council Chimombe will only get not more than 5% votes from council employees.He is one guy who is very unpopular in both the city itself and the corporate world

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