Masvingo’s new town clerk: The full story

Mirror Reporter

Masvingo – Soft spoken, humble Edward Mukaratirwa who is an engineer by profession is Masvingo’s new substantive town clerk.

He was appointed by the Local Government Board at the recommendation of Masvingo City Council and the appointment is with effect from June 9, 2021.

Mukaratirwa replaces Adolf Kambirai Gusha, an administrator who retired as town clerk on August 30, 2019.

Armed with an engineering degree from the University of Zimbabwe and a Master of Business Administration degree from Great Zimbabwe University, Mukaratirwa is probably the best man for the job in a city bedevilled by water problems, potholed roads, non-existent drainage systems and unsanctioned settlements.

He has extensive experience and technical expertise in design and construction of water, waste water and road infrastructure having worked for two different local authorities before his latest appointment. His experience in local government spans two decades.

Mukaratirwa is known as a clean man not amenable to corruption and that is probably his biggest strength.

His task will not be a walk through the park though.

Masvingo has been run down for years and there are a lot of governance issues confronting the local authority. Mukaratirwa will have to content with mushrooming unapproved housing schemes particularly in the sprawling Victoria Ranch where residents have no running water, no electricity and there are no proper roads. A Land Commission appointed by the President described the housing schemes as a time bomb.

Council projects are a can of worms. Several multi-million dollar contracts were abandoned by dubious contractors who pocketed money and left without completing the work.  This is another area that Mukaratirwa will have to stare in the face.

Mukaratirwa started his journey in local government in 2001 at Vungu where he was the District Engineer. From Vungu, he moved to Gutu Rural District Council where he held a similar position up to September 2006. Some of his achievements at Gutu include the construction of several schools, clinics and development of Munhende housing scheme.

Mukaratirwa was appointed acting Chief Executive Officer for Gutu Rural District Council, one of the country’s most populous districts in the country in October 2006 and he held this position until 2011 when he joined Masvingo City in March 2011 as a deputy engineer.

In 2019, the city fathers who were impressed by Mukaratirwa’s track record pulled him out of the pack ahead of a host of his seniors and appointed him acting town clerk. It is an appointment that surprised many who did not know his history.

His start was rocky and bumpy as problems mounted at the time that he just took office. An unprecedented water crisis never seen in the city set in forcing residents to queue for the precious liquid at boreholes around the clock.  The CBD ran dry and workers had to back lanes for toilets. The water crisis was caused by two Zesa transformer breakdowns.

Mukaratirwa and the youthful Mayor, Collen Maboke however, worked round the clock and pulled the city out of the storm. The water situation has not only normalised but improved tremendously.

All things are now pointing up, the roads are being maintained and new multi-million-dollar projects have been embarked upon including a dumpsite for the city.

Mukaratirwa went for interviews for the substantive position alongside a host of other well qualified candidates a few weeks ago and he made it.

Mukaratirwa was born in Maturu area in Gutu in 1977 in a family of six. His parents Fambisai and Agnes were a tailor and housewife respectively.

He attended Chinanga Primary, Chitsa Secondary and Gutu High schools for his primary, O and A level studies respectively. He went to the University of Zimbabwe where he studied for a degree in Civil Engineering and graduated after four years. He then enrolled.

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