Zimbabwe

Harare city council bosses on way out

At least three Harare City Council top managers might be on their way out after expiry of their five-year contracts.

Their fate now lies in the hands of the general purposes and human resources committee which is said to be reluctant to renew their contracts. In case the committee changes heart and agrees to renew the contracts, they are subject to confirmation by the full council meeting. The full council is also said to be divided over the managers and a majority vote is required.

The Herald is reliably informed that housing director Admore Nhekairo, transport manager Obert Mutonhori and corporate communications manager Michael Chideme were recently served with notices of expiration of their contracts while the contract of director of works Engineer Zvenyika Chawatama expires next month.

While most of those whose contracts have expired will be leaving without anyone weeping as they go, Mr Mutonhori and Mr Chideme have nothing against them. Others are already on suspension.

The contract of suspended Town Clerk Eng Hosea Chisango expires early next year while former human resources director Matthew Marara recently resigned before his disciplinary hearing on corruption-related charges.

All top managers (Grades one to three) are on suspension except for health services director Dr Prosper Chonzi (Grade two) who is the sole substantive top manager in office. The other departments have been operating without substantive heads after most bosses were suspended over corruption-related investigations.

Town Clerk Hosiah Chisango, Mr Stanely Ndemera (finance director), Mr Nhekairo (housing director), Eng Zvenyika Chawatama (works director) and Charles Kandemiri (chamber secretary) have been receiving salaries and benefits from home.

Some have been on suspension for close to two years as council failed to bring them before a tribunal to determine their suitability to continue holding their offices.

Housing director Nhekairo, who was on suspension, was recently served with a letter communicating the expiry of his contract while Eng Chawatama’s contract expires in two months.

Eng Chisango’s tenure expires early next year and he remains on payroll pending expiry of his contract.

Harare City Council acting human resources director Mr Bozman Matengarufu chose not to comment much on the issue.

“Thank you so much for reaching out to me. I would like to respond to the issues you have raised, but please accept my sincere apologies; we are unable to do so because it is common knowledge that matters between an employee and an employer are kept private and confidential between the two parties.

“A confidentiality agreement governs these matters in relation to the City of Harare. If there is anything that requires the attention of my office in the future, please do not hesitate contact me . I will gladly assist,” said Mr Matengarufu.

Labour law expert Mr Caleb Mucheche of Caleb Mucheche Law Chambers queried why council let the disciplinary matters drag on for over a year without constituting a tribunal to deal with the allegations.

“Legally, those whose fixed term contracts expired are no longer employees unless their contracts of employment were renewed.

“It is a cause for concern that disciplinary proceedings have not been finalised for more than one year as that is a violation of section 101(5) and (6) of the Labour Act which presuppose that misconduct disciplinary proceedings must be finalised within 30 days,” said Mr Mucheche.

Eng Chisango is on suspension following his arrest on corruption-related charges. He allegedly worked with Nhekairo in the illegal creation and allocation of stands on an open space in Kuwadzana 3 in July 2019 without going through the legal process of changing land use.

While on remand, Chisango was further arrested on allegations of criminal abuse of office or alternatively failing to prevent corruption after allegedly appointing a chief security officer, an appointment allegedly outside his mandate.

Chamber secretary Mr Kandemiri was arrested on allegations of parcelling out stands without following due procedure. He is facing criminal abuse of duty charges.

Housing director Nhekairo was arrested on a litany of allegations involving the illegal parcelling out of residential and commercial stands.

Among many allegations being levelled against Nhekairo are that of allocating residential stands in Westlea to undeserving people who include police officers and a prosecutor, who have since been arrested and charged. ther allegations are of parcelling out stands on land reserved for recreational purposes.

Mr Marara, who recently resigned, was arrested on corruption allegations involving the illegal sale of 150 stands in Kuwadzana, with irregularities in the approval of plans and production of fraudulent layout plans prejudicing council of US$1 141 779.

-Herald

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