HARARE – Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere must pay suspended town clerk James Mushore his exit package, Harare mayor Bernard Manyenyeni said yesterday.
Mushore was suspended by Kasukuwere just after his appointment last year, with the minister arguing he had been hired without following due procedure.
With the former banker’s salary pegged at $10 450 per month, Harare City Council now owes him $125 400 in back pay starting April 2016.
While giving evidence to Parliament’s Local Government portfolio committee, Manyenyeni said he had tried to engage Mushore on the matter but his lawyers advised to follow the court process.
“The issue of Mushore has locked up council. The succession of the town clerk has taken 30 months because we started these discussions when Ignatius Chombo was still our minister,” Manyenyeni said.
“When we finally retired Mahachi we lost the planning period. Now we have been locked down with Mushore’s case for nearly 15 months and it is clearly unhealthy for a city that is requiring executive leadership,” he said.
“The opportunity to withdraw Mushore and recruit another one can only present itself when legal processes are finalised or an exit is concluded with Mushore. I propose that Kasukuwere engages Mushore directly to negotiate an exit. Should that be secured I would be more than delighted to lead council in a new energised recruitment of a town clerk, but for now it is a matter before the courts and our hands are tied.
“I have tried to engage Mushore who has consulted his lawyers and their position is that they wait until the matter is concluded at the courts, which matter is underway. It does not however, rule out what you are proposing as a way forward. Persuasion and out of court settlements would not be dismissed suggestions if they are the only plausible solutions to the matter. However with the slow pace of the judicial wheel we may be with this matter for a long time to come,” Manyenyeni said.
He added that the recruitment of the finance, housing and water directors was done under duress, as council had to prescribe to an out-dated law.
The mayor argued that the Local Government Board (LGB) was out-dated and no longer relevant in terms of the Constitution.
“The issue of the LGB whether we subscribe to it, is a matter of contest following the new Constitution which further emphasises the need for this particular portfolio committee and councils to be talking and understanding the playing field. Local Government is all about devolution to the extent that we took the route we took.”
“However, that crippled us and we had to take the softer way of going through the LGB in appointing our senior management in order to make progress.
“I would urge your committee to look at the continued relevance of the LGB in line with the Constitution so that you can also guide us on their continued relevance.
“But from our understanding of the Constitution and devolution is that the larger functions of the LGB no longer belong to the new dispensation of the supreme law of the land,” he said.