Harare Mayor Defends Council as Commission of Inquiry Begins Investigation

May 15, 2024
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Jacob Mafume, Mayor of Harare,

Harare Mayor Jacob Mafume has asserted that the city council has “nothing to hide” in response to President Mnangagwa’s recent establishment of a Commission of Inquiry. This commission is set to investigate various governance issues within the Harare City Council.

The commission, chaired by retired Judge Justice Maphios Cheda, includes members Lucia Matibenga, Khonzani Ncube, Steven Chakaipa, and Norbert Phiri. They have been given a six-month mandate, with the possibility of extending it for an additional three months.

The inquiry will examine several aspects of the council’s operations, including the management, sale, transfer, or lease of council properties to private entities, financial management of revenue from special vehicle companies and outsourced arrangements, the convening of council meetings, compliance with procurement laws, asset disposal, and adherence to the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act.

“We have nothing to hide; we are a public entity appointed by voters to enter public office,” Mafume stated. “Being in public office means our work can be scrutinised by commissions and parliamentary committees.”

Mafume emphasized that the commission’s mandate is clear and was established under the Commissions of Inquiry Act, Chapter 10:07. “The President deemed this inquiry into Harare’s matters as being in the public interest,” he added.

The mayor also warned that non-cooperation with the commission could have serious consequences. “We encourage open and candid communication. Failing to cooperate with commissions like this can lead to criminal or labour-related consequences,” Mafume cautioned.

He urged the council’s secretariat, including the town clerk and the chamber secretary, to prepare the necessary documentation for the inquiry. “We must be ready. The chairperson of the commission and the secretariat, led by the Permanent Secretary of Local Government, will communicate once the preparatory work is done,” Mafume concluded.

The Harare Commission of Inquiry is expected to shed light on the governance practices of the city council and ensure transparency and accountability in its operations.