Former Harare Mayor Bernard Manyenyeni, who survived numerous vote of no confidences during his tenure for questioning the calibre of councillors from his party, MDC, has again taken a swipe at the current crop of city fathers for lacking basic education qualifications and skills to run the city properly.
Mr Manyenyeni, who was at the helm of council from 2013 to 2018, said managing the city was an uphill task which required people with knowledge to oversee council committees citing the finance committee as one such that cannot be run by a person without five Ordinary Level subjects as he or she will have to manage the second largest budget in the country.
The former mayor proposed that the councillor’s position be voluntary to attract genuine community servants, not job-seekers as is now the case.
“Set minimum academic qualifications; technical to be a councillor or to subject the aspiring councillors to certification of competence by an independent organisation like IPMZ and IODZ. Set minimum qualifications especially for committee chairpersons like a degree or equivalent education, training or exposure for Harare and Bulawayo and certainly for mayor’s.
“How many of us realise that the finance chairperson for Harare City Council has a ministerial level responsibility? So to get someone with three ordinary level subjects as happened before to supervise a US$500 million budget has been delinquent on our collective selves,” he said.
“Remove remuneration allowance for councillors completely make it completely voluntary. This may attract genuine community servants not job seekers.
“Currently councillors get around US$30 per month equivalent (which may appear too little for many) but to someone sitting and doing nothing it is a good job,” he said.
Mr Manyenyeni suggested that aspiring councillors must be ratepayers in their wards for at least five years to be eligible as this deals with moonlighting of councillors from nowhere to contest in safe urban wards.