Manyenyeni boycotts council events
Innocent Ruwende Municipal Reporter
Harare mayor Councillor Bernard Manyenyeni is boycotting council events in protest against alleged laziness and bureaucracy by his subordinates in dealing with the city’s business at Town House. Last week, Clr Manyenyeni was supposed to address the Rapid Results Initiative workshop, but chose not to attend the function. He reportedly boycotted an employment council/human resources workshop in Kadoma also held last week.
Clr Manyenyeni has in the past accused Harare City Council workers’ unions of “failure to contribute to a remuneration solution despite his attempts to engage them for suggestions”.
Asked why he was boycotting such events, Clr Manyenyeni said: “I just feel sorry for the sandwiches and drumsticks that are being eaten for nothing. Things are just not moving fast enough, too much lethargy and bureaucracy.”
Clr Manyenyeni said he was concerned by resistance to enhanced disclosure. Efforts to contact acting town clerk, Mrs Josephine Ncube, were fruitless. Clr Manyenyeni is on record as saying council was burdened with an unsustainable wage bill, with almost every worker being overpaid compared to salaries on the market.
He said the wage bill must be reduced if the city was to prioritise service delivery. Clr Manyenyeni said this as it emerged that out of the council’s $13 million monthly revenue collection, $9 million go towards salaries.
At the Kadoma meeting last week, human resources chairperson Clr Wellington Chikombo assured workers’ representatives that council would not slash their salaries. “We do not want to see our employees subjected to an ocean of poverty,” he said. “We are inspired to see our employees realising the fruits of hard work. Ours is a natural covenant, we do not take a gamble with employees’ welfare. Their well-being is our happiness.
“We do not conflict statutory procedure or social effort designed to promote the basic physical and material well-being of our people. “City of Harare is a stratified entity, it is not a banana republic. We are a law abiding institution. Because of the sanctity of contract, we cannot violate it willy-nilly in the absence of a cogent legal reason.”
Harare residents have accused the local authority of prioritising its bloated wage bill at the expense of service delivery. Problems have been mounting for the city council since the MDC-T lead council took over in the last few years.