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Zanu PF denying MDC elected councillors to do their mandate: Manyenyeni

by Stephen Jakes
26 Apr 2020 at 08:00hrs | Views
Former MDC Harare Mayor Bernard Manyenyeni has revealed that Zanu PF government has for the past years been blocking the opposition elected councillors in the capital city to exercise their mandate of serving the elect6orate.

He said on the recent programme "In Conversation with Trevor" -  Muchadeyi Masunda who was Mayor of Harare 2008 to 2013 stated that when he arrived at Town House the City Council was "moribund"- which means on its death-bed, breathing its last.

Manyenyeni said the interview rekindles some personal and official memoirs for me - so please allow me to share.

"From herding my sheep in the wilderness God despatched me to the burning bush at Town House with nearly a dozen, unrelated, compelling, spiritual directives and only enough personal willpower. I took over from Much Masunda from 2013 - 2018," he said.

"Harare City Council was still in terminal decline, it is probably gasping as we speak - short of a miracle it will remain on ventilators just like Zimbabwe itself. Zimbabwe's two main political parties have 'collaborated' to destroy the City through toxic politics and bad elected and appointed leadership. ZanuPF will not allow the elected MDC councillors to exercise their mandate fully: to them the battle for control of Harare has nothing to do with votes - but power."

Manyenyeni said through a Facebook post that where and when the MDC councillors get the opportunity to exercise the mandate, sadly their limited capacity, competence deficits and conflicted mindsets take charge.

"Much Masunda repeats in his interview that elected councillors must admit that they do not have the skills required for the mandate. He bemoaned that out of his 46 elected councillors less than 10 were gainfully employed prior to election as councillors. Mayor Masunda's independent headcount audit for Council's nearly 12k employees a professional evaluation recommended 6k maximum workers for the City," he said.

"With family members and party supporters from both my own MDC and (even more) Zanu PF jumping the queues to join hastly created, or non-existent, jobs the staff cost ballooned. A few months before my term started in 2013 the very shrewd Council staff managed to get the Local Government Minister to award them salaries which effectively paid every employee around THREE TIMES the market price for similar jobs."

Manyenyeni said the City found itself collecting 13m per month revenue and dishing out nearly 10m of that as employment costs.

He said the salary level comparisons (back then) are as per attached HISTORICAL table: courtesy of The Sunday Mail.

"Please note the salary over payment per job grade is much more at lower levels than management and executives - this fact is missed by so many! It is politically very viable to accuse the executives (and sometimes - very wrongly too - the Mayor and Councillors) of being grossly overpaid. In my very eventful 5 years, among the shenanigans and attacks, I survived enough no-confidence votes and specifically two of the no-confidence attempts over my remarks about low capacity among the elected councillors," he said.

"My loud offending call that future council elections -with alternative mechanisms - must ensure that at least TWO-THIRDS of councillors must have bankable professional credentials was considered by my fellow councillors to be two-thirds too many. They picked up stones and knobkerries as I told whoever cared that they needed their job more than I needed mine."

He noted that it took the whole of party President Morgan Tsvangirai (MHDSRIP) himself to decree that the Mayor was not going to be touched.

"My noises around HR costs continued and on that sad February 14th the very moments that Morgan Tsvangirai was breathing his last in a South African hospital my colleagues seized his absence to launch another of the bids to oust me. Party Local Government Secretary Hon. Eddie Cross again had to go on his knees to stand-in party leader Adv. Nelson Chamisa to stop what he called a silly effort by the councillors and conflicted comrades from party HQ," he said.

"To his credit Nelson Chamisa who had been fully mobilised and charged to endorse the booting spoke out aloud - "But I am a lawyer - how can I support something like this where the accused has not even faced charges before any panel?" So what is the take-away story from all this? Sad stories simply don't sell - solutions matter!"

Manyenyeni said he has been preaching to his deaf audience that toxic partisan politics is their biggest problem as a country.

"For over 2 years I have been sharing a proposal again to you my deaf constituency that for the next 2 elections (ie 10 years in total) all our national elections be run on an individual basis ie NO PARTY CANDIDATES at all.
Fellow Zimbabweans - this will allow the country to heal, unite and re-discover the national agenda - away from the fatal partisan politics," he said.

"This raw idea can be refined by bigger and better thinkers around us. In the interim however - the letter and spirit of Devolution that very powerful Chapter 14 of our Constitution must be respected. Councils must get their prescribed authority and autonomy. (Word of caution - let us brace ourselves for some serious governance and capacity issues!)"

He said with or without the proposal above (which will be shot down very quickly by the politicians on both sides of the current binary battle) the calibre of councillors must be improved by ANY COMBINATION of the following - in no particular order:

"Aspiring councillors must be ratepayers in their wards for at least 5 years to be eligible (this also deals with moonlighting of councillors coming from nowhere to contest safe urban ward seats). Only ratepayers should vote in municipal elections: the very quality of the Zimbabwean voter has been problematic," he said.

"Set minimum qualifications academic, technical to be a councillor or to subject the aspiring councillors to Certification of Competence by an independent organisation like IPMZ or IODZ. Set minimum qualifications especially for Committee Chairmen (e.g. a degree or equivalent education, training or exposure) for Harare and Bulawayo and certainly for mayors."

Manyenyeni said how many realise that the Finance Chairman of Harare City Council has a Ministerial level of actual, effective responsibility??

"So to get someone with 3 O Levels, as has happened before, to supervise $500m USD annual budget has been delinquent on our collective selves. The same level of responsibility applies for at least two other Committee chairs at HCC," he said.

"Increase the remuneration of councillors so as to attract the right pedigree.
Some competent fence-sitters could be more motivated by reward to step up and serve. For me as Harare Mayor (and being the highest paid councillor in the land) which was easily one of the busiest and trickiest jobs in the country happened to be the lowest paying "job" that I have had since July 1990 - yet the most costly job. My predecessor, Much Masunda even worse - for a white-haired legal giant in a month he was earning as Mayor what he earned in less than 2 hours in his day job. There is hardly any difference in the monthly cost to the ratepayers between the Mayor and the cost of his chauffeur. This increase-reward proposal takes us to this next (outrageously opposite!!!) suggestion."

"Remove the remuneration allowance for councillors completely ie make it 100% VOLUNTARY. This may attract genuine community servants not job seekers - as Councillors. Currently councillors get around USD 30 per month equivalent (which may appear little to many) but to someone sitting on the stoep daily doing nothing IT IS A GOOD JOB!! Separate Municipal Elections from General Elections. The current approach has very little focus or attention to urban councils the real deal is between President and MPs and councillors just ride on the wave."

The former mayor said giving municipal elections their own focus and attention will generate real interest in what is going on and who is going in.

He said lastly and most importantly the country needs a (Paul) Kagame- (Rwanda president) or MAGUFULI (Tanzania President).

"We need someone with both POWER and WILLPOWER as our PRESIDENT - the closer we get to a Benevolent Dictator the better for the beleaguered Republic," he said.

"We have been short-changed BIG time by the sheer lack of willpower. My apologies - I couldn't keep this post short."

Source - Byo24News