Harare Mayor, Bernard Manyenyeni suspended
COMBATIVE Local Government and National Housing Minister, Saviour Kasukuwere, has suspended Harare Mayor, Bernard Manyenyeni, over the controversial appointment of a new town clerk.
Harare has been without a substantive town clerk since the sacking of Tendai Mahachi in June last year.
Top banker, James Mushore, landed the job following a rigorous selection process.
Council then went on to appoint Mushore without consulting Kasukuwere and involving the Local Government Board (LGB) as stipulated by the Urban Councils Act. The council acted on the basis of the new Constitution, which states that local authorities are free to make appointments without consulting the minister or the LGB.
In matters of law, the Constitution is always superior to any statute.
Kasukuwere had instructed the Harare City Council to rescind its appointment of Mushore, who has been reporting for duty daily since his appointment this month.
This forced Kasukuwere to suspend the mayor.
In a letter written to Manyenyeni yesterday, Kasukuwere said he was suspending him for violating provisions of the Urban Councils Act.
Kasukuwere also barred him from exercising any of his duties as a councillor.
Manyenyeni is councillor for ward 28, which covers portions of Mt Pleasant and Vainona in Borrowdale.
“I wish to inform you that in terms of section 114(1) of the Urban Councils Act, that you are hereby suspended from carrying out the functions of the office of mayor and councillor.
“The grounds for your suspension are that you have, without legal basis, made an employment offer to a person for the position of town clerk without the necessary approval of the Local Government Board as required by the Urban Councils Act, as read with section 265(b) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe. You went further and defied a lawfully given instruction implementing a resolution that had been rescinded in terms of the Urban Councils Act section 314,” said the letter.
The letter further stated: “You will be brought before a competent authority to answer the allegations above in due course. During the period of your suspension, you shall not receive any allowance and you shall not carry out any council business within or outside council.”
Section 265 (b) of the Constitution states that local authorities assume functions conferred to them by the Constitution and an Act of Parliament.
Apparently, the Urban Councils Act is now ultra vires the Constitution which was overwhelmingly adopted in 2013.
Harare residents, through their associations, have since filed an urgent Constitutional Court application seeking to bar Kasukuwere from interfering with council operations and to confirm the constitutional position on the appointment.
The Financial Gazette understands that Manyenyeni immediately vacated the office as soon as Kasukuwere’s letter was delivered to him.
He told the Financial Gazette immediately after receiving the letter: “I am very much at peace with myself over the letter.”
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