HARARE councillors have vowed to take Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere head-on following his decision to block ex-banker James Mushore’s appointment as the capital city’s town clerk.
BY XOLISANI NCUBE
Mayor Bernard Manyenyeni told NewsDay yesterday that they had arranged a special council meeting for Friday to deliberate Kasukuwere’s directive, amid reports the local authority was mulling taking the matter to court.
“We have called for a special council meeting to deal with the directive from the minister, it is not my decision, but council’s, and I believe we will find a way out. This is the only possible way out to deal with the issue at hand,” he said.
Council last week approved three people, with Mushore being the front-runner for the town clerk’s position, which fell vacant last year after the departure of Tendai Mahachi, but Kasukuwere reversed the decision hardly 12 hours later, saying the local authority had not followed the law.
Mushore beat 144 applicants for the city’s top job and was followed by Godfrey Pasipanodya and Jacob Mtisi.
According to the Constitution, local authorities are empowered to run their affairs independently and to determine their operations, but an Act of Parliament also empowers government, through the Local Government Board, to approve the appointment of town clerks.
This, according to an MDC-T councillor, created confusion, as Kasukuwere was using the Urban Council’s Act to stop the appointment of Mushore as the new town clerk.
“We will fight this directive; it does not make legal sense at all. According to the Constitution, we have powers to appoint a town clerk whom we believe can deliver on what we want.
This is abuse of the law,” a councillor, who requested anonymity for fear of being reprimanded by the ministry, said.
Another councillor said: “We know that the minister wants us to appoint the acting town clerk, Josephine Ncube to that post, but she has failed. When she took over as town clerk, council was in two months’ salary arrears, but now we are in trouble, we owe the workers five months’ salaries. She can’t whip the directors to raise more revenue, we need someone with that zeal and energy to do things the right way.”
Kasukuwere, on the other hand, said he had no personal vendetta against Mushore, but wanted council to follow the law. “I am just saying the law says this, council should engage the Local Government Board and everything will be fine,” he said.
“As central government, we are interested in the matter because a town clerk has lives and interests of the people and so we need someone whom we can entrust that with. Council should engage the Local Government Board and the issues are dealt with in that order.”
Mushore yesterday refused to comment on the issue.