Innocent Ruwende Senior Reporter
Three Harare City Council directors boycotted disciplinary hearings this week and took council to court, arguing their suspensions were unlawful because they were without pay or benefits, contrary to provisions of Section 140 of the Urban Councils Act.
The trio — Dr Prosper Chonzi (health services director), Mr Tendai Kwenda (finance director) and Cainos Chingombe (human capital director) — made an urgent chamber application at the High Court, saying their suspensions infringes on fundamental human rights which require their cases be dealt with expeditiously.
“The applicants, being senior executives of council, are public figures and their reputation is now at stake in the eyes of the general public owing to the unlawful suspensions, coupled with grave allegations of misconduct against them such that it will be impossible to regain, and the possibility of securing another employment close to nil,” argued the trio through their lawyers Dube, Manikai and Hwacha.
The three were suspended together with acting town clerk Mrs Josephine Ncube, who has also challenged her suspension, arguing that Harare Mayor Councillor Bernard Manyenyeni does not have the legal standing to suspend a chamber secretary.
Meanwhile, the MDC-T-led council is now being questioned for taking two years to rescind a decision by the Kurasha Commission of 2005 and 2008 that empowered the town clerk to review allowances for executive managers.
Technically, this meant that since council and not Government employed the directors in question, the town clerk had the discretion to set salaries even above Government’s salary cap of $10 450.