Council last month approved the appointment of three substantive directors namely Tendai Kwenda (Finance Director), Engineer Hosea Chisango (Director of Water), and Admore Nhekairo (Director of Housing and Community Services).
The three new substantive directors were selected by council through the interview system and had their names forwarded to the Local Government Board who then gave the green light for the appointments. Kwenda and Chisango had previously been serving in their new substantive positions on acting capacities for the past year while Nhekairo is the only one coming from outside to replace Retired Major Matthew Marara who was the Acting Director of Housing. Nhekairo joins City of Harare from Marondera Municipality.
Though council has been applauded for filling in vacant posts at Town House, residents associations have expressed disappointment over two of the selected directors. Writing on their Facebook page on 22 March hours before the special council meeting that rubberstamped the appointments, Harare Residents Trust (HRT) said that they were against the appointment of Kwenda and Chisango as they had previous issues with council.
“Kwenda is under investigation for being fingered in an audit report which was conducted by the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing for alleged abuse and illegally receiving money that he did not deserve, while Chisango has previously been accused of having illegally approved a project undertaken by his private company despite a reported shoddy job,” wrote the HRT.
Board Director of the Combined Harare Residents Trust (CHRA) Simbarashe Moyo concurred with HRT saying that residents were not happy with the appointment of some of the directors due to their dodgy pasts.
“We are not happy hearing that some of the people who ended up making it as directors have previous records of fraud, corruption or are being investigated for having done something that is against the law. For us to be given such a person as a substantive director is a blow for our fight for transparency, accountability, efficient, and effective service delivery,” explained Moyo.
Moyo added that it was important for council to make sure that they appoint people with a clean track record. When contacted for a comment on why council employed individuals with tainted pasts, Mayor Bernard Manyenyeni revealed that council was only aware of the concerns regarding the finance director.
“I am aware of the concerns regarding the finance director. The position taken was that he is innocent until proven otherwise. I am unaware of any red flags relating to the water director (designate),” revealed the Mayor.
Residents’ perception of council apppears to be at an all time low, in particular with regards to executive appointments and salaries, which many feel are exorbitant given the state of service delivery in the capital.