Harare City Council is operating with just two substantive directors, amid confusion over the city’s mayoral position.
As of Thursday this week, out of the seven directors’ posts, five are being manned by non-substantive personnel, while the directors of water and health are the only permanent executives.
This has come about as a result of arrests and subsequent suspensions of council executives on allegations of corruption. Asked about the situation, Harare City Council spokesperson Michael Chideme said some of the court cases are still pending.
“Some of the cases are still in court, so until those cases are finalized, council can then decide, in cases where those people do not come back, to fill those posts with substantive heads,” Chideme said.
It is also not clear who the city’s mayor is between Jacob Mafume and Stewart Musarurwa Mutizwa. Mutizwa has been the acting mayor after Mafume was suspended due to alleged corruption cases that are still pending before the courts. But Mafume has been making intermittent appearances at council to carry out mayoral duties, saying his recall is unlawful.
“The recall is null and void, it is in contempt of court. There is judgement by Justice Tsanga which said I cannot be recalled by anybody, there is then the Mafusire judgement that was confirmed by the supreme court with costs, that PDP has no authority,” said Mafume.
Meanwhile human resources management expert, Memory Nguwi believes that legal complexities have made the appointment of permanent directors take longer and more difficult.
According to Nguwi in as much as this affects service delivery, the situation at the council is nothing unusual.
“People can be in acting positions for various reasons, some legal, so the appointing board cannot proceed without clearing these cases. This is normally the case in these situations, and naturally it affects service delivery,” Nguwi said.