Innocent Ruwende Herald Reporter
Harare mayor Councillor Bernard Manyenyeni has come under fire from a section of councillors, who accuse him of nepotism after he allegedly influenced the appointment of his uncle, Mr Justin Mandizha, as the city’s new finance director.
Clr Manyenyeni — during his State of the City’s Address on Tuesday — heaped praises on Mr Mandizha, raising the ire of councillors who felt that he was pre-empting the decision of the Human Resources and General Purposes Committee that was still to decide whether Mr Mandizha passed his probation or not.
Mr Mandizha has been on probation since September last year.
Some councillors claim that chances were slim that the finance director would be disciplined for failing to meet his contractual obligations.
In his address Clr Manyenyeni said: “We welcome into the executive team Mr Justin Mandizha in the all-important position of city treasurer or finance director. His fresh sense of professionalism is encouraging.”
Contacted for comment, Clr Manyenyeni said he had nothing to do with Mr Mandizha’s employment at Town House, saying he only got to know that he was his relative when he was employed.
“I do not employ people. I can only employ one person that is the town clerk.
“My great grandfather was a Mandizha I had closer people who wanted the job and were equally qualified,’’ he said.
Clr Manyenyeni said he could praise anyone using the same sent- iments.
The city’s Human Resources Committee chairperson councillor Wellington Chikombo confirmed that Mr Mandizha was still on probation, but refused to shed light on Clr Manyenyeni’s alleged nepotism and whether his sentiments would affect the outcome.
“He (Mandizha) is still on probation, we are meeting as the Human Resources and General Purposes Committee to deliberate on the matter,” he said.
It has also emerged that Mr Mandizha was practically running the affairs of the city as a de facto Town Clerk, because of the support he received from Clr Manyenyeni, whose intention was to change the city’s executive and replace it with his “people”.
“Mr Mandizha is also playing a critical role in the factional fights in the MDC-T because he controls the purse.
“This has led him to lose focus of improving service delivery, therefore, he must be removed with immediate effect,” said a councillor.
At his State of the City Address Clr Manyenyeni said in the next six months the city would have renewed the face of council leadership by more than 50 percent of the team found in place in 2013.