Residents plan mass protests over Mahachi

The Combined Harare Residents Association has threatened peaceful protests and rates boycott if the Harare City Council fails to meet the organisation’s demands for accountability and transparency following revelation that council management were awarding themselves hefty salaries and packages as the local authority struggled on service delivery.

Tendai Mahachi
Tendai Mahachi

Addressing journalists at the Media Centre in Harare this afternoon, the organisation’s Director, Simbarashe Moyo said the reinstatement of the city’s town clerk, Tendai Mahachi by the local government minister, Ignatius Chombo, is a violation of constitutional provisions that sought to promote devolution and autonomy of public bodies.

The CHRA leader said his organisation would mobilise communities for peaceful protests and massive rates boycott if Harare City Council failed to meet the organisation’s demands regarding the ‘salary gate scandal’ at town house

Said Moyo: “We will advocate for the boycott from residents and ratepayers in the corporate sector if the local authority does not fulfil our demands."

Moyo said his organisation welcomed the suspension of the town clerk, although the reversal of the move confirmed suspicions that minister Chombo is ‘complicit in the underhand dealings and scandals that continue to affect the delivery of social services.’

“We believe that the refusal by Mahachi to comply with resolutions of a full council meeting and his failure to promote good governance and restore public confidence in the manner in which public funds are being handled, represents a gross violation of his mandate for which he must justly be suspended.”

“Big men like Chombo are otherwise feeding off public funds that should otherwise be used to develop the social delivery system in Harare,” said Moyo, adding that the residents were not going to sit and watch the political appointees abuse their office at the expense of service delivery.

He said residents demanded that the local authority revised downwards the salary bill of personnel at the management level and release an official statement that detailed the salaries and packages of top management within seven days.

“The Mayor of Harare, Bernard Manyenyeni, must provide residents within a reasonable time- frame clear steps to show that council is taking steps to rationalise salary bills with the ongoing social delivery program,” he said.

CHRA threatened that failure by the local authority to comply with the demand would result in the organisation filing an urgent High Court Application to block the payment of salaries of public officials until the matter was resolved.

CHRA urged Manyenyeni and the councillors to insist on the successful implementation of investigation into the salary issue regarding the top management at Town House.

Moyo’s statements come in the wake of revelations that Mahachi and his 18 member management team at Town House are gobbling close to $500 000 in monthly salaries.

Mahachi was last week suspended pending investigations, according to Section 13 of the Urban Councils Act, for allegedly failing to discharge his duties and furnishing council with the salary schedule for top managers at the local authority.

However, Chombo over the weekend reinstated Mahachi saying that he could not be the sacrificial lamb for salary schedules whose origins he was not aware of.

Moyo revealed that his organisation was currently holding meetings with the responsible council authorities to ensure that they effected residents’ demands as a matter of urgency and reverse Chombo’s directives to reinstate Mahachi.

“As far as we are concerned, Mahachi is suspended and we are behind Manyenyeni’s decision. What we are against is for Chombo to come and reverse progress that has been made so far in trying to unearth the rot at the local authority using his ministerial powers,” said Moyo.

He urged Chombo to emulate his counterpart: Media minister, Jonathan Moyo for what he has done at the national broadcaster, Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation.

“Who is he to reverse progress towards transparency and accountability? As a progressive leader, he was not supposed to reverse that suspension but to support it because of the rot that has crippled service delivery at the expense of citizens’ lives,” he added.

Post published in: News

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