Gweru city councillors, who were ordered by Local Government Minister, Saviour Kasukuwere to recruit substantive heads of departments within 10 days, have fired back a salvo, literally telling the firebrand politician off.
On 24 July, Kasukuwere gave the city fathers 10 days to employ the four directors, since Edgar Mwedzi (Finance) was the only substantive head. However at the stroke of the deadline, the councillors, in a written communication read before most employees at a workers meeting held at Gweru theatre during lunch time on Monday, told the outspoken minister nicknamed ‘Tyson’, to step aside.
“Council is an autonomous body, and will carry out its own recruiting process without compulsion…we are also not an extension of the Provincial Administrator’s office, and will not report back to her office.”
Even last week when the letter from the parent ministry had just been delivered to the councillors, some of them had already vowed not to be used as Kasukuwere’s puppet.
“What we don’t want is interference from the Provincial Administrator or District Administrator in recruiting our staff,” Ernest Guduza, the ward 14 councillor was last week quoted as saying.
Meanwhile workers committee secretary general Frank Muzorera told the workers that council was frustrating efforts by central government to compile a wage bill, and present it to authorities (government) so that ‘it could assist in paying them their salaries.’
“A senior official at the finance department said it was not possible to give us the bill by 8am (Tuesday) but only after a month. What should we do with such people?” fumed Muzorera.
Council spokesperson Tapiwa Marerwa said he could not comment on what the workers or councillors resolved since he had not attended their respective meetings.
“All I can tell you is that the council has ordered that the Revenue Enhancement Team be disbanded. As a matter of fact, I chaired that particular meeting.”
The team had been tasked to see to it that there is progress in revenue flows to council. However, there had been little or no change, with middle managers reportedly owed up to four month’s salary.