Some members of the Restoration of Human Rights (ROHR) on Friday staged a demonstration at Town House demanding the continued suspension of Town Clerk Tendai Mahachi following his reinstatement by Harare Mayor Bernard Manyenyeni on Thursday following pressure from Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo.
Close to 50 placard-carrying members of ROHR sang revolutionary songs at Town House denouncing Mahachi, who was suspended by Manyenyeni last week for insubordination as he refused to surrender to the mayor and his council salary and benefit schedules for top managers at the local authority.
The protesters also directed their anger at Chombo, charging that he is responsible for the rot in the Harare City Council and other local authorities in the country.
The leader of the protestors and ROHR director Mangoma said his organization supports the January 30th suspension of Mahachi by Manyenyeni.
Harare city councilors met Wednesday and upheld Manyenyeni’s decision to suspend Mahachi and set up a committee to appoint a team of auditors to probe Mahachi.
But Manyenyeni told VOA that he had written a letter to Mahachi lifting his suspension following pressure from Minister Chombo.
Manyenyeni’s move provoked the ire of the majority of Harare city councilors and some ratepayers.
Despite Manyenyeni’s decision to reinstate Mahachi, Mangoma said his organization wants to see the Town Clerk leaving the Town House completely.
He accused Minister Chombo of promoting corruption by forcing Mahachi’s re-instatement.
The demonstrators left a copy of their petition at Town House for the mayor’s attention.
Mahachi was suspended by Mayor Manyenyeni on January 29th, 2014, in conformity with the mayor’s exercise of his prerogative in terms of Section 139 (3) (a) of the Urban Councils Act for allegedly failing to properly discharge his duties after he refused to give effect to a Council resolution to provide the salary and benefits schedule of all Harare City Council senior employees including his own schedule.
The suspension, Mayor Manyenyeni said, would pave the way to probe Mahachi’s conduct and also launch investigations into the affairs and finances of the Harare City Council.
But Chombo on February 1st, 2014, overturned Mahachi’s suspension on the basis that he was empowered under Section 134 of the Urban Councils Act (Chapter 29:15) to reverse Mayor Manyenyeni’s decision.
Chombo’s actions infuriated Zhuwarara, who protested that such a move was objectionable and that his purported powers in terms of Section 314 of the Urban Councils Act can only be exercised in regards to Council and not mayoral decisions.