Zimbabwe: The results of the interviews with the municipal police are known

Daniel Nemukuyu Chief Investigations Editor

Interview results for the selection of 290 new Harare City Police and Security officers have been withheld pending validation of the recruitment process by audit and investigation teams after an outcry over allegations of nepotism and corruption.

Harare City Council recently announced 290 vacancies in the security department and there was an overwhelming response.

Nearly 4,000 people applied for the jobs, creating an opportunity for the corrupt to make money as only 290 were to be hired, or just 7.25%.

Allegations of corruption and nepotism have been raised with reports that an unmarked Toyota Wish was seen whipping some applicants who had failed on the 5km route to City Sports Center to join the successful applicants.

It also turned out that some candidates had paid corrupt council officials between US$100 and US$500, and even the list of words for the spelling test had been widely circulated.

The list of 20 spellers that was another phase of the selection process leaked and was all over social media before the test, irritating those who had already paid for the list. The council officers’ lucky parents didn’t have to pay cash or search social media: they just received the list so they could take the test. A new test has now been established.

Harare City Council’s Acting Director of Human Resources, Mr Bozman Matengarufu, said new staff can only be called to work after the entire interview process has been cleared by the audit.

“We have heard of the allegations and to ensure professionalism and fairness, a detailed report from a special task force will be submitted for audit validation.

“We can only recruit after the validation exercise. Once the task force reports to me, I will submit this report for validation before reading it to the board.

“At this time, I am awaiting the report. The task force includes officers from the Human Resources Department, Harare Traffic and City Police,” Mr Matengarufu said.

Sources said municipal police have opened investigations into the allegations raised and halted recruitment.

In the fitness run, contestants had to run a 5km loop starting at the city’s sports center. If they passed within the stipulated 22 minutes, they were deemed fit and allowed to enter the yard while those who failed the test were excluded.

In a disturbing development, The Herald witnessed a white Toyota Wish smuggling into the City Sports Center a man and two women who had been kicked out after failing the road race.

The vehicle had no number plates and it was allowed to enter the town’s sports center while carrying the trio. As part of its investigations, The Herald accessed a spelling list that was leaked on social media platforms ahead of the interviews. HR officials learned that the list was now in the public domain and the success rate was incredibly high, with most getting all 20 words and even misspellings reaching 80%.

The leaked list contained the following 20 words: embezzlement, perjury, absenteeism, replacement, lieutenant, anonymous, forgery, statutes, phenomenon, conscience, subpoena, modus operandi, superintendent, pronunciation, liaison, curator, occurrence, arsenal, maneuver and bureaucracy.

It was a fixed thought. A team led by HR manager Mr. Kaponda and a Ms. Mukombedzi rushed to the interview location with a new pun. When they arrived, a number of candidates had already been tested and were asked to start over with another list of words.

An advertisement for vacancies specified that the candidate must be between the ages of 18 and 35, have five O-level passes and be in good physical shape.

There was an overwhelming response from nearly 4,000 applicants and the process began with certificate verification and age verification. About 1,000 candidates failed and those who passed were invited to the written spelling test. After the spelling test, the successful candidates were pre-selected for the oral test, which became the final stage.

A male human resources department officer (name omitted) allegedly collected bribes of between US$100 and US$500 from those who wanted an automatic pass during the final stage of the selection process. Corruption and nepotism are nothing new in Harare City Council City Police recruitment.

In February 2019, Harare City Council was caught in a nepotism storm when councilors and senior management allegedly sent their relatives for jobs in various departments, leaving a trail of similar names in the municipality’s employment books. .

A good number of senior executives, advisers and other opposition politicians share surnames with at least two recruits while in some cases up to eight recruits share the same surname.

The recruitment has sparked outrage, with some spitting fire over the involvement of advisers in the recruitment process.

According to a relevant stakeholder document entitled “City of Harare Report on Current State of Affairs, January 2018 to June 2019”, councilors were heavily involved in recruitment.

Two employees who share the same surname as the former Mayor of Harare, Mr. Herbert Gomba, Tecla and Thomas, have been recruited as municipal police officers.

Four others – Blessing, James, Tinashe and Rosemary – share the same last name as the council’s former director of human capital, Major Maxwell Marara. The quartet was employed in the section of the municipal police.

Although the Jena family’s connection to the council was not immediately established, people with that name were recruited immediately with three in the fire section, three in the parking lot section and two in the local police.

Councilor Wellington Chikombo of Ward 28 shares the surname with four recruits: Simon, Evans, Kilven and Sternford.

Two were recruited as parking attendants while two were employed as patrollers. Four municipal officers from the Taruvinga family – Laureta, Clever, Costain and Victoria – were also recruited earlier this year.

The Muzuva family was represented by Julia and Denver, who were employed as patrol officers and firefighters.

The Mukunguma, Mandere and Nyatsuro families each had two representatives on the list of new recruits.

Five of the recruits who share the Moyo surname – Farai, Conrad, Golden, Mduduzi and Sinothando – were recruited from the fire and municipal police sections, although it is true that this surname is so common that ‘at least some of the five may well bear no relation to the Moyo in the council service.

Melissa C. Keyes