Nyachowe’s Resignation Welcome

…After all there was nothing “special” About Him

The Combined Harare Residents Association welcomes the resignation of Charles Nyachowe who was appointed as a Special interest Councilor by the Minister of Local Government, Dr. I. Chombo to serve Harare City Council. To the majority of Harare residents, this move has long been overdue given the amount of chaos and confusion, Nyachowe had been causing at Townhouse. Since July 2010, CHRA has been calling on Nyachowe to step down, because he is not fit to serve in a public office due to his criminal past as stipulated by the Electoral act Chapter 2:13, section 119 (e). Nyachowe in his former capacity serving as a special interest councilor had nothing special about him that would justify that his seat was serving in the interest of a certain special sect of Harare.

But who is Charles Nyachowe?

Mr. Nyachowe was appointed in terms of Statutory Instrument (SI) 79/2010 as a Special Interest Councilor. Although SI 79/2010 was published in the Government Gazette of the 2nd of April 2010, Mr. Nyachowe has served as a Special Councilor since July 2008. He was appointed Special Interest councilor by Minister Chombo despite the fact that he was not fit for public office because he was sentenced to ten years imprisonment by a Harare Magistrate in 1995.

Further to that he was also convicted of public violence in 2003 and received a suspended jail term as a result. He is well remembered for trying to stall the appointment of a special tribunal that was going to launch a fresh investigation on the shoddy land deals that were allegedly entered into by Minister Chombo and others including the wealthy property magnet, Phillip Chiyangwa. Nyachowe was on overdrive castigating the tribunal appointment adding that it was hell bent on serving the Mayor’s personal interests and was ultra-vires residents’ interest and service delivery.

He went further to ask for the Mayor to step down because he had failed to act in the interest of residents. Nyachowe had been nakedly and unashamedly acting in defense of his appointee, Chombo which then went on to prove that his allegiance was towards Chombo and not Harare residents. This has been the basis of our advocacy around resisting special interest councilors because of their lack of accountability towards residents.

Our position as an Association is that the principle of special interest councilors is noble, but it has been abused by politicians. We expect individuals who come from the marginalized sectors of society for instance, the disabled, women, youths, and minority races to come up for nomination for these posts not friends or losers of previous local government elections to be the first preference up for selection. In this regard, the Association calls for review of the policy to put checks and balances in the appointment process.

Below is an extract of a letter that we wrote to the Minister of Local government on the 11th of July 2010 complaining over the appointment of special interest councilors and their credibility to serve Harare.

“Elite Car Hire Employees.

(a) Moosa Harif Allana.

We understand that at the time of his appointme

nt Moosa Harif Allana was a 26 year old accountancy student with no apparent experience in any field. He is employed in the accounts department of Elite Car Hire which is run by his father.

(b) Abisha Ushewokunze.

Mr. Ushewokunze is an employee of Elite Car Hire. Like his colleague Moosa Harif Allana, he has no known professional experience that would warrant him being appointed as a Special Interest Councilor.

Your decision to appoint the two individuals referred to above from one firm which deals in the business of car hire begs for an explanation. You will agree that in the absence of a plausible explanation from you the irresistible inference to draw from this is that there is a relationship between yourself and Elite Car Hire which has influenced you to appoint the two youths referred to above. Are you in a position to assure the Harare Residents that your decision to appoint the two Elite Car hire employees was above board?

Honourable Minister we do appreciate that as an appointed Minister of Local Government, you do have some discretion in the exercise of your administrative duty that your post requires. We accept that in the case of Charles Nyachowe you may have been unaware of his ex-convict status; however the Harare Residents who have approached us are of the view that your conduct in appointing the two Elite Car Hire employees as Special Interest Councilors may very well amount to gross abuse of office on your part. Should we therefore not receive a response on the Issues raised above in due course, we shall (on behalf of the Harare Residents) refer the issue of the Elite Car Hire employees to the police for an investigation to establish whether or not a criminal offence has been committed.”

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