Town clerk hired, fired same day

MUSHORE JAMESHappiness Zengeni and Innocent Ruwende
Former NMBZ Holdings group chief executive officer Mr James Mushore (pictured above) wrote a piece of history for himself yesterday by becoming the shortest serving Harare town clerk after he was appointed and fired the same day, the Herald can reveal.

Government yesterday rescinded the appointment of Mr Mushore to the post of town clerk just a few hours after council announced his appointment because the local authority flouted procedures of appointment as laid out in the Urban Councils Act.

The move by Government follows a decision by a special council meeting held yesterday that approved his appointment.

In a letter to Mayor Councillor Bernard Manyenyeni yesterday, Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Saviour Kasukuwere said in terms of Section 132 (1) of the Urban Councils Act, a council may only appoint a town clerk after they have received an approved candidate from the Local Government Board.

He said the city council was expected to make a submission to the Local Government Board as specified in Section 132 (2) and may only appoint a person when the board has given its approval.

“It has come to my attention that at the special council meeting held today, the Harare City Council approved the appointment of Mr James Andrew Mushore to the post of town clerk, Harare,” said Minister Kasukuwere.

“In view of this blatant violation of the Urban Councils Act, I have, in terms of Section 314 of the Urban Councils Act, rescinded item No. 8 of the special council meeting held on March 24 2016 and direct that you follow the Urban Councils Act to the letter in completing the recruitment and selection process for this important post,” he said.

The post of town clerk fell vacant when Mr Tendai Mahachi was relieved of his duties last year.

A banker, Mr Mushore stepped down from NMBZ where he was group chief executive officer last year.

He beat a long list of candidates who included current Acting Town Clerk Mrs Josephine Ncube (nee Chigonda) and former city urban planning director Psychology Chiwanga, human capital director Dr Cainos Chingombe, former diplomat Mr Godfrey Pasipanodya, Dr Charles Makono and Mr Shangwa Mavesera after interviews held a fortnight ago.

Another canditate, Dr Tapiwa Mashakada, dd not attend the interviews.

The interviews included psychometric tests.

According to the minutes of the Human Resources and General Purposes Committee, which were tabled at a special council meeting yesterday, the committee was of the view that they were empowered to appoint a town clerk.

However, Acting Town Clerk Dr Prosper Chonzi advised that if the city appointed a person without first recommending the three best candidates in order of their rating to the Local Government Board, it would be ultra vires the Urban Councils Act.

“He further advised that Section 132 of the Urban Council Act was not inconsistent with the Constitution and in particular Section 274 (2) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe. He advised that Section 274 (2) of the Constitution does not provide for procedures for council to appoint the town clerk but only refers to the composition of those who will manage a local authority.

“The acting chamber secretary further referred the committee to Section 279 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, which provided to an Act of Parliament that provides the procedure to be followed by local authorities in the discharge of their functions and in this case the Urban Councils Act, hence Section 132 of the Urban Councils Act was not inconsistent with the Constitution of Zimbabwe,” reads part of the minutes.

However, the committee highlighted that council was guided by the Constitution and devolution of power therefore council was empowered to appoint the town clerk without first recommending the suitable candidates for appointment to the Local Government Board.

According to the minutes, chairperson of the committee Councillor Wellington Chikombo outlined that Mr Mushore emerged the winner with 142 points followed by Eng Jacob Mtisi (98 points former diplomat Mr Godfrey Pasipanodya who managed 81 points.

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