Harare City Council’s finance chair quits in protest

Clr Markham

Clr Markham

Innocent Ruwende Municipal Reporter—
Chairperson of Harare City Council’s finance committee, councillor Norman Markham, has resigned from his post over the non-disclosure of executive salaries and general unaccountability at Town House. In his resignation letter to mayor Mr Bernard Manyenyeni, Clr Markham said he was uncomfortable heading a finance committee that had no control over finances.

“It is with regret that I tender my resignation as chairman of the finance committee and indeed the committee itself. I cannot believe that anyone with any self-respect would chair the Harare City Council finance committee as it stands and runs today.

“For over six months we have been waiting for contracts for grade one to four employees. This scope, like all the grades is overstaffed for our resources, but the packages are extraordinary. This band alone accounts for nearly 10 percent of our wage bill. We have no control over contracts, benefits drawn,” read part of the letter.

Clr Markham said due to the huge workforce, he had suggested a three-day working week to reduce wages and free up more money for service delivery. He did not get any support on the matter.

The Helensvale, Borrowdale Brooke, Greystone Park, Kambanje and Glen Lorne councillor said the council executive was recruiting without council’s involvement adding that an area of particular irritation was the number of directors which stood at 14 before being trimmed.

“An amazing folly which I cannot accept is a budget of US$1,6 million to sponsor a football club in the current economic crisis. Yet Harare City Council cannot afford any support to its amenities and associated residents.

“I shudder at the water rehabilitation deal that has been signed in the deal. Information technology equipment is covered in this contract which I have not seen to the tune of over US$1 million. Yet in the HCC budget, we also had a similar budget placed for similar equipment,” he said.

The councillor said he did not have details of the deals in question.
Mr Manyenyeni confirmed the resignation, and said, “I respect his conscience. I have failed to persuade him to stay on. I share his frustration.”

Last week Mayor Manyenyeni suspended town clerk, Dr Tendai Mahachi for three months after he failed to provide the salary schedule of all senior council employees.

However, Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Dr Ignatius Chombo almost immediately re-instated the town clerk.

The suspension was effected to pave way for investigations into the city council’s financial management amid reports the city’s 18 directors were gobbling over US$500 000 in salaries monthly at a time service delivery has plummeted to levels where the municipality cannot even replace street light bulbs.

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  • Wilson Magaya

    I look forwrd to a city run properly with living standards at parity elsewhere. Harare is beautiful and deserves better management.

  • Zvazonyanya

    Mukati nyika ino ichasara gore rino, chii chaizvo chiri kumboitika?

  • Mimi

    Now there goes a principled Councillor, choosing to resign than continue to ride with the tide among thieves, looters who are opting to squeeze Harare dry and on top of that refuse to disclose their salaries to the general public. Something fishy and nasty is definitely going on in our City Father’s corridors. The pathetic situation is that amidst all this, Harare residents are having to suffer unimaginable loss of service delivery. And then we cry that Zimbabweans it has to take everyone to fight corruption, HOW IS ANYONE SUPPOSED TO DO THIS?

    • Jose

      how does these guys work at HCC the Mayor should just walk through to the Town Clerk`s Office and demand the salaries schedule or simply a pick up phone call to the former mayor rather than making an unnecessary public stance, having said that the levels of corruption being revealed is not acceptable and is always the case there is more to these allegations the current Mayor must be hands please. These could be just the gossip of the uninformed.

  • Mupinyu Wasvotoka

    There goes a man with a Conscience. ..Takamira pamumvuri wemuroyi shuwa.. The big question is ” Why is Mahachi refusing with the salary/wage payroll details”? Why is Chombo Reinstating a suspended Town Clerk ? Why is Mudhara quiet about these clear corrupt activities. There is clearly a relationship of these issues.Dube loots and nothing happens to him . Mahachi is clearly a conduit for looting . Mozondimutsa kana zvave bho . Ndazvitadza ini.

    • Mbada Murenje

      It is my own mare thinking that the President may as well wait for the responsible offices to deal with these issues before his mouth opens up to close it and finally. My friend, visit the topic in the same paper which reads “City officials loot $100 million” then you will be left with no word but to go and sleep as I have done.

    • MaraMechavio

      Where was this Markham before this scandal broke out?

    • Jotham

      Because he is white , your tears are now rolling. Nhamo ine nharo. Misuse of public funds will not be condoned by any rational thinker. This guy is so self centred and big headed that he feels such an indispensable guy in council matters.HCC council is washing its dirt linen in public. The whole HCC leadership and the councilors should invite Min. Chombo and map the way forward for that local authority. The Mayor and this white guy are not being sincere. They are playing their political games in the press, much to the surprise of many. Minister Chombo should come out in the open and tell the whole country who is fooling who in HCC.

      • grecko

        Jotham, Jotham, Jotham!! Unogumbura mafungire ako. Haurambidzwe hako kusupporter musangano waunoda but if you let that blind you to this stage, you are in deep shit. Chombo is at the centre of the mess at HCC and beyond. He is the *** . HE recalled the corrupt MDC clrs the other time and now he is doing it again. He wants the whole councl to be full of his loyalists so he can run the show, I am sure he is behind the heft salary scandal and is the brains behind the water and sanitation corruption. No amount of money can satiate Zimbabwe his personal property

        • Jotham

          This about being Zimbabwean. Whites have infiltrated the Zimbabwean space and distorted the Zimbabwean ideology or rather view.This white guy is so pretentious in order to gain sympathy. The HCC issue is very complex in that the fellows involved have their on interests and game plans across the political divide.

      • nyathi

        I think you are clueless and confused as well as thoroughly misinformed. the honorable Councillor has simply stepped down to because he can not effectively dispense his duties due to the institutionalized mismanagement of HCC. It is not politics but simple facts, the recognized standard for wages is that they should not exceed 10-18% of income, just 14 people gobbling up the entire amount is insane..if you cannot see this, then you are no better and should reserve your comments to the beer hole or under the peach or mango tree wherever you’re from! Mr Tomana will have a lot on his plate this year, and these matters are well understood by the presidium, those times are gone…Zim – Asset demands sustainability and the first step towards reviving the economy is getting rid of these greedy individuals and placing national interests first.

  • Hang in there

    Dont run away from a problem councillor. We elected you to fight and solve problems. If you abandon guarding the maize crop, the baboons will have a field day. And also the timing of your resignation is wrong, soon after reports of many unethical practices in council. Some people may choose not to share your reasons for resigning, thinking instead that you are going away because gaps which you wanted for personal gain have been closed by the recent revelations of malpractices.

    • logic

      No point bashing your head against a group of people breastfed and weaned on corruption. At least he has had the courage to say, if it isn’t workable he will not be party to it.

      This is like one Minister did with one of the ministries at the height of the invasions where he warned of the harm this lawlessness would do to the country. The President called him a coward simply because he would not say “Yes Sir, three bags full, sir” Instead he was a visionary and we can all see what the devastation has been on our credibility as a country that used to talk about the rule of law and how the fallout and similar ill-informed economic policy announcements have hurt our investment potential.

      It is in fact the brave who dare to walk away when it is so easy to fall in and become copted in their mess if you stay on while they smother your voice. This leaves him free to talk. As for your reference to malpractices, is it his malpractices or the fact that there is no full disclosure on the contract to the committee coupled with the powerlessness of the committee to mandate the provision of the documentation (I bet set up by Chombo to function in this manner)? Read again carefully – you may have scanned this article or are we reading two different articles? After all he is only a councillor.

  • punungwe

    Fire Chombo. Fulstop.

  • tino

    chombo is protecting corrupt officials, double standards by zanu pf which purpots to be fighting corruption

  • zvazviri

    the residents must voice their support for a commission of enquiry into the affairs at town house. Everything must be looked into.

  • cry my beloved country

    This is not the time to quit. You should have stuck to your guns while making a lot of noise. Kangoma kana koririsa koda kuparuka, the darkest hour is before dawn.

  • masvukupete

    I nominate Clr Markham for town clerk.

  • Mtoko

    We cannot continue to pay rates just to finance someone’s
    obscene salary

  • Baba WaNgwarai

    VaMugabe varipiko with all this nonsense?

    • logic

      VaShona vanoti ungaita mutaurirei ipo pamuromo pako paine futa rembudzi? That is the answer to why their is deafening silence amidst the turmoil.

      Isu vamwe takadzidziswa kuti doro rinoshaishaishwa pakutangwa kwaro – haririzongoshati mberi. Unonongedza umwe nemunwe ndiani iyo minwe mitatu yakanongedza kwauri iwe munongedzeri?

  • Nyondo

    Does this country have an executive. We need to hear what the President thinks about this. To be honest keeping quite when the country is burning like this is not fair.

    • Mela

      it just goes to show he is not interested in his people. Or probably threatened by these officials or just plain old weak. Ari mamwe ma president, I know Chombo would be in trouble by now, or atleast we would have heard something from him. Its time people realised that voting for the same party over and over is the dumbest thing Zimbabweans keep doing. When someone overstays their position, they get comfortable and learn all the loopholes. Hatidzidze from whats happened in the past that we keep forgetting how Zanu failed us. As I always say, at this mentality, Zimbabwe shall stay a 3rd world country for decades to come if we dont change our mindset and culture. Tingaite hedu nharo dzechigandanga kuti ZANU ichatonga nyika yoga successfully, but realistically im sure you can tell a lot. We are just too Gullible its sad. We actually need people like Markham to take over.

  • hove

    zvakaoma zviri kuitika muzimbabwe. Ine munhu uri kutonga here oro mumwe nemumwe ari kuita zvaanoda. Iye Chombo uri kutsvagei mu Local Government. Agarisa ngaadzingwe aende

    • zimbabwe

      Akagarisa achigona hazvina kuipa, but this chombo is useless, corrupt uye mbavha yekupedzisira. Ngaande. Unogumbura sa Gumbura

  • pesto

    taura hako ,team yebhora nemari dzevanhu,kutopanana mabonus after the game,Even banks are failing to do this nema interest avari kubata imagine

  • gabriel

    punungo idama iro why vaMugabe vachichengeta chombo the most corrupt minister in the present govement . Hey vakoma tochema hedu nema sanctions asi ava vadu ndivo vaparadza nyika mhani

  • Tonderayi Chanakira

    We are just CORRUPT as a nation called Zimbabwe. We inherited a very beautiful country from our colonizers and we are a very educated nation rated as the best in Africa at 96% literacy level. Most of all we inherited a country which is rich in natural resources. My open letter to the President of our country COMRADE ROBERT MUGABE is you have a LEGACY to preserve comrade Mugabe. Please clean up this mess before you go

    • zimbabwe

      Tonderayi Chanakira. Point of Correction: We did not inherit Zimbabwe from colonisers but from our ancestors. Zimbabwe has never belonged to the colonisers but has been grabed by them. You better say, ” we took back our country from colonisers while it was in a good state”. Dzokera kubhenji mupfana…

      • masvukupete

        @Zimbabwe: But we did inherit a good economy?

      • Tonderayi Chanakira

        Noted Zimbabwe yes we inherited Zimbabwe from our Colonizers via our Ancestors!

  • gabriel

    Baba Ngwarai taura hako problem ndiVaMugadai vaida kugadzirisa zvinhu it was not going to take him 1 month nema executive powers avo ndipo pavanofanira kurakidza simba ravo. Even if it means to fire mashefu ese mumapublic office at least toda kuona hukuru hwavo kani. Vakomana nyika irikutapwa takatarisa vana vavo vachatitonga futi nekuti ndivo varikuwana decent education

  • Hurber

    Ko why disgruntled Zimbos dont strike? In South Africa people make noise till they are heard and it really work. I am surprised Mugabe hasnt done anything Masimirembwa. Now its rotten everywhere. Please Zimbabwe there is a guy who heads DDF called Jonga he has like 4000 cattles, 200 tractors, combine harvesters, people from DDF work in his farms whilst being paid by the gvt. He is one of the most corrupt people in Parastatals .

    • Jotham

      You mean South African slaves(Black mine workers). Mugabe must , rather than institutions or officers to do the work.How come Jacob Zuma/Obama don’t go out in the streets to arrest corrupt people. Your white brains are only meant for cabbage people like blacks(who worship whites).

  • Harry

    Aah I do not believe we still had whites in key positions

    • Jotham

      They are plenty plus masquerading as saviors of black people like you who need whites to guide them along the city’s roads.

      • Guest_101


  • Mela

    Its high time Zimbabweans did some protests in the streets. Show these people we are serious.

  • Hemp

    Mr Markham, sir, where were you prior to the public disclosures of financial malfeasance?
    What were your duties as finance chair, and how have you been performing said duties in such an uncooperative environment?
    For six months you have diligently reported for work, sans any issues, now it has suddenly become a job for someone with no self respect? Why, simply because we know what’s going on over there?
    Turning tail and running for the hills when faced with an opportunity for real change is a self serving display of weakness, a cop out. A politically expedient ploy.
    Run Mr Markham, run, and don’t look back!

    • Kwekwe326

      Hemp, you misunderstand Markham’s role. He is a councillor, not an official. His job as Chair is to scrutinise the work of the Clerk and others: but he cannot do this because the Clerk will not provide the relevant information and thus sees no option but to resign in protest. It is the honorable course.

  • TruthBeTold&Acted

    I think now is the time & opportunity for our ruling party / govt to effectively deal with corruption & abuse of office.

  • Tino

    The best solution to the problems in Harare, Chi-town and other municipalities is to get rid of Chombo. People, Chombo ndiye problem. Get rid of Chombo and give more power to the rate payers.

  • john moyo

    Chombo is really taking a piece !! Who the hell does he think he is ??? If there is one minister who should have been fired years ago coz of corruption its him. Him and his party tskes Zimbabweans as a bunch of fools. He is an insult to our intelligence

  • john moyo

    In Zim munhu wese anongoita zvaada.


    Why 18 directors? What good output is being reflected by this ballooned top?

  • Kanhunzi

    Tsvangirai woye, chiita ruzha rwako ruya and mobilize the people. People are just waiting for a leader who will tell them to march the streets.

  • job bhutsu

    oh my god so harare city is funded by City of Harare,,,, at least as me first demet


      OOOOH !!!!! Vana v

  • dusty

    Problem is its the honourable/accountable people leaving as opposed to the dishonourable/un-accountable ones.
    Evil triumphs when the good do nothing!

  • Jotham

    Honourable person my foot?. Because of his white skin , He assumes that makes him special. There is a lot that each side is not divulging to the public. He is resigning because the top Brass at HCC is not publicising their salaries. If the then Mayor(M Masunda) new the salaries of these top guys. The current Mayor and this white guy are claiming that they don’t know the salaries. Somebody is playing a real dirt game. I hope the Mayor is being honest.

  • tanatswa

    Please don’t play the race card. That is lazy thinking that does not contribute to progress. Lets live as Zimbabweans not as blacks and whites or shonas and ndebeles. This Zimbabwean who happens to be white has acted according to his morals and conscience. What is wrong with that. Your anger is misdirected. You should be angry and the looters, Chombo and Mahachi. We are tired of race baiting.

  • anon

    White, pink or whatever, he has divulged why he left. If the council employees have a defence or a counter-narrative to what we have read, then let them say and prove it. This has nothing to do with race except to the imbeciles.

  • ian

    Hogwash and pure racist bigotry. What does the colour of his skin have to do with the matter at hand? Is it not a fact that Mahachi has refused to release the salary schedule for his staff as requested by his superiors? if there are other issues at play in the HCC issue why is Mahachi not mentioning them? These can easily be publicised in “The Herald”. When we went to war, the objective was to fight an unjust system and not fighting whites just for the sake of it. Thats why we even had whites fighting side by side with us in the struggle. Jotham, you should learn to think before you put pen to paper!

  • blackwave

    you probably have a stake in this or you are related to one of these thieves. you and them deserve some real jail time…

  • Mela

    lol Jotham, stop being racist and narrow minded. Tell me then, has any of the black zimbabweans decided to resign because their conscience tells them the corruption they did is wrong??? we are not talking about race here, your comment is so annoying because its out of ignorance.. this is a person who has a conscience and ethical with business activities. Hatidi ma comment asiina musoro wese. If he was black, I would still say, YES,THIS GUY IS STANDING FOR THE PEOPLE. Stop being backward and thinking whites are superior

  • N. Sithole

    Unfortunately you are wasting your time sir, There are people who will always smuggle in the race and sanctions mantra into every debate,

  • Jotham

    I am not racial at all . The truth is I am very honest and I don’t shy away from reality. The majority of whites(90% at most) are very racial. It is blacks like tanatswa who are blind and can easily bend backwards to accommodate this white guy whose senses have gone nuts.

  • Jotham

    These issues are real if you feel we should look aside for your pleasure go to hell. Those who support whites(the pink people) because they are given bread crumbs can not expect us(myself) hero worship satanists who masquerade as our saviours. Truly there white person who loves a black person for free. if he/she loves there is something that he /she is looking for(after).

  • inini

    Hogwash! He was elected by his constituent members of all races. You are the one who has a problem with your reverse racism.

  • jothamisdumb

    haha, what a knob you are!! according to yourself, you are not racial at all but 90% of whites are very racial. hehehe. is this really reality or the reality you perceive after smoking a few joints?

  • Master Cde

    get away, wat evidence do u have…dnt show us ur lazy mind

  • blackwave

    an imbecile of the first order…shame on you

  • Mela

    Dude I think you have a problem.. You are bringing racism unnecessarily. its not needed at this time, neither is there any need to protect our race. No one has said anything against blacks here.

  • Tobaba

    You are totally way way off topic ,the issue is about finance accountability in the top council offices which we not afford to pay a blind eye but nip in the bud .Stealing, mismanagement ,accountability, killing all these are shortcomings found in human beings…..

  • Jotham

    Dummies voted (him)(green/yellow)for a dunderhead whose senses have gone astray. Why not resign from the whole HCC, to prove that he is man enough. I am sick and tired of pretenders.

  • hoho

    If u are benefiting from corruption then you support the situation that z gving u that benefit.

    This Jotham is either getting 500 000 dollars as a salary or his parents are getting 40 000 dollars.

    Thus Black Zimbabweans not whites.

  • Jotham

    I am programmed to suit who?. You were structured to suit their wishes(Eurocentric mentality), I am glade that I am different.I do not condone embezzlement of funds by anybody, but I will not be critical as a way of pleasing or glorifying whites(MDC-T included). I did not use the word corruption – by and large it is meaningless(it has a host of meanings).

  • Chegorerino

    From now onwards dumb, useless people who throw punches on shadows are called Jothams. Zvaunenge wakadzidza wani?? Moderator, please help us by blocking this guyhe is doing a disservice to all thevforward thinking Zimbabweans

  • Jotham

    Kuto defender this white guy. Humwe hupenzi hunotambudza muridzi.

  • murewa

    Funny, your ideology is ridiculed with flaws that can only be defined as “hypocritical”. However, as I write this, it is apparent that you will never understand the extent of your skewed perception of race vs reality. 30 seconds of my life that will have no impact, what a waste. Yet, I feel sorry for you, just hope that you don’t suffer from your delusions.

  • Jotham

    I hope you are really white(pink I mean). The race issue did not start with me , it has been there for along time. I am no apologetic , whites are very , very racial indeed.