Council in war over army role

HARARE - Harare councillors are at war with town clerk Tendai Mahachi after he unilaterally roped in services of the Zimbabwe National Army to manage the waste department.

Mahachi is now working with army personnel in running the municipality’s Waste Management department, a wing vital for winning back people’s votes in the capital city.

Announcing the development, Mahachi said the city’s Waste Management department was now under his wing, relieving the director, Dombo Chibanda, of his duties despite earlier protests by councillors.

Mahachi justified the move claiming he was driven by the desire to clean Harare from its current “shambolic” state.

But councillors suspect politics is at play.

Malbereign councillor Sunshine Mudavanhu said Mahachi’s move is “mischievous and a misnomer” considering the responsible person employed to do the job is around.

“The CEO is supposed to be supervising the director but now it is as if the director is not there. It is sort of elbowing him out of his duties,” said Mudavanhu.

This is not the first time Mahachi has stripped Chibanda of his powers.

In December, Chibanda was sent on forced leave, only to return to work after councillors intervened.

Glen Norah councillor Herbert Gomba said Mahachi will have to explain how he came up with the decision.

“The town clerk should give a full briefing providing reasons why he did that in the interest of safeguarding council from litigation,” he said.

Council chief whip Victor Chifodya said Mahachi acted illegally.

“It is wrong. Refuse was being collected until recently when they started fighting Chibanda. I do not think it is the right decision.

“Everyone knew the challenges that were being faced by Chibanda but they never helped. Now we have equipped his department, they are now taking over his duties,” said Chifodya.

Combined Residents Association (Chra) queried Mahachi’s decision to rope in the army.

“Where was the town clerk when things were deteriorating at an alarming rate,” said Chra in a statement.
Mahachi’s contract, according to Chra, expires next month.

The town clerk said he was unable to give any interviews as he is busy with visitors from South Africa’s eThekwini municipality while Chibanda’s mobile number was unreachable. - Wendy Muperi

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