ZANU-PF wants Josephine Ncube for town clerk
ZANU-PF is pushing for the appointment of a female town clerk in the capital and has ratcheted pressure on government to thwart the appointment of former banker James Mushore to the position.
The campaign, code named “Harare kumadzimai” or “Harare to a women,” is being led by Harare province, which has written to Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister, Saviour Kasukuwere, to frustrate the appointment of Mushore, a former NBMZ Holdings chief executive officer who founded the banking institution together with now-Anglican Church bishop, Julius Makoni.
The party wants chamber secretary, Josephine Ncube, who has previously acted as town clerk, to be given the job.
Ncube was one of 139 applicants who fell by the wayside during a rigorous selection process that involved three independent consulting firms, including global accounting and human resources company, Ernst and Young.
She did not make it to the shortlist of the final three which had Mushore topping the list followed by an engineer, Jacob Mutisi and former Rainbow Tourism Group commercial director and Air Zimbabwe board member, Godfrey Pasipanodya.
Council appointed Mushore two weeks ago in a special council meeting held at Town House, but Kasukuwere rescinded the decision hours later, alleging violation of the Urban Council Act by the local authority.
It, however, emerged that the legislation, which compels council to seek approval from the Local Government Board and the minister before making such appointments, is ultra vires the new Constitution adopted in 2013.
The Constitution empowers councils to hire senior staffers without government interference.
The matter has now spilled into the courts, with Harare residents, through their associations, last week filing an urgent Constitutional Court application seeking to have Kasukuwere’s decision nullified.
The ZANU-PF Harare province alleges that Mushore is aligned to the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) party which dominates council.
The province wrote to Kasukuwere just before the sitting of the special council meeting which appointed Mushore on March 24. It was not immediately clear if Kasukuwere’s angry letter nullifying the special council meeting’s appointment was a reaction to the Harare province of not.
The Financial Gazette has seen the letter, which bears the official government stamp to show that Kasukuwere acknowledged its receipt.
The letter was written by the provincial economic empowerment secretary, Peter Mayesera and was copied to Harare Provincial Affairs Minister, Miriam Chikukwa and ZANU-PF Harare provincial chairman, Charles Tawengwa.
Kasukuwere was not answering calls to his mobile number when contacted for comment.
According to the letter, ZANU-PF wants Mushore disqualified on the basis that he does not have experience to run local authorities.
The provincial members also allege that the selection process was biased and that it was influenced by the MDC-T leadership.
“The chairman of the human resources and general purpose committee, Welington Chikombo, ward 27 councillor, was taking instructions from Harvest House,” the letter alleges.
Harvest House is the MDC-T national headquarters situated along Nelson Mandela Avenue.
The letter alleges that Mushore was planted by the MDC-T at Town House in order to siphon money to bankroll the party’s programmes since it was now bankrupt.
“I hope as a minister, you will not approve his appointment because the MDC is already on the ground positioning itself for 2018 elections. I feel a female candidate as town clerk of Harare is suitable since no female town clerk has been appointed in the city since independence,” wrote Mayesera.
“Our party, as the champion of the gender equality policy, should reserve this post for the women’s quota,” he added.
“Josephine Ncube is being victimised by the MDC council because of your good working relationship with her. The MDC looters are afraid of Josephine Ncube. I do hope our appeal will be taken into consideration,” the letter said, suggesting that Ncube’s failure to land the position was pre-determined.
MDC-T spokesman, Obert Gutu, dismissed claims that the party influenced Mushore’s appointment.
“It is not the business of the MDC to dictate to the city authorities as to who should be employed as the town clerk. The town clerk is an employee of the City of Harare and not the party. Therefore the allegation that Mushore is an MDC man is not only outrageous and spurious, it is also completely devoid of factual support,” Gutu said.
“The problem with ZANU-PF functionaries is that they always think that, just like the average ZANU-PF activist, everyone else is corrupt. Corruption, misuse and abuse of public resources is part and parcel of the ZANU-PF DNA,” he added.
Chikombo also rubbished claims he took instructions from Harvest House, saying: “The selection process was comprehensive and included many organisations and individuals. We even had representatives from both MDC and ZANU-PF.”
He attacked Mayesera, whom he said was still bitter after he lost ward 27 elections to him.
“He is still licking political wounds after I defeated him in the last general elections. To say as little as I am that I influenced the process is a sterile imagination from a weak person who is pushing a weak notion in order to achieve a light victory.”
There have also been reports that ZANU-PF is determined to block Mushore’s appointment despite the outcome of the Constitutional Court case for political reasons.
Sources said the ruling party was not comfortable with his relationship with former vice president, Joice Mujuru, who now leads an opposition party, Zimbabwe People First.
Mushore is a nephew to the Mujuru family.
“There are many dynamics at play here. They (council) might be legally correct but politically, according to ZANU-PF, they are wrong,” said a council source that preferred anonymity.
A few years ago, Mushore cost former attorney general, Sobuza Gula-Ndebele, his job after they were seen together during the time the ex-banker was facing charges of foreign currency externalisation.
He was eventually cleared of the charges in 2007 after spending three years on the run.
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