Residents Associations and Civic Society Organizations lamented over the possibility of appointment of commissions to run urban local due to the rampant recalls by the MDC and suspension of Councilors on allegations of corruption.
Speaking at the Webinar National Discussion hosted by CHRA, Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association Director Emmanuel Ndlovu lamented that,“ the level of corruption in Councils have created a fertile ground for appointment of commissions especially on the allocation of stands.”
Dr Davison Muchadenyika an Independent Local Government Expert highlighted that appointment of Commissions should be the last resort as it contravenes section 265 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe which states, “All members of local authorities must be elected by registered voters within the areas for which the local authorities are established.”
Residents’ representatives were worried that the appointment of Commissions to run local authorities was a threat to representative democracy and the current provisions governing the appointment of Commissions was open to manipulation by the Minister of Local Government.
The Director of Urban Council Association of Zimbabwe, Mr. Mutekede said, “if commissions are appointed to run the local authorities they will not have powers to levy rates, taxes, increase any charge and to levy any charge without approval from the Minister” hence the Minister will be running local authorities.
“Whenever there has been people of questionable character appointed to be Commissioners to run local authorities there has been citizens uproar over the appointments” ,said Mr Mutekede.
Key recommendations that came out of the discussions were;
- Alignment of the Urban Councils Act 29:15 and Local Government Act of 2016 with the Constitution of Zimbabwe
- There is a need to have by-elections in areas where councilors are removed to ensure representation .
- Engage political parties on the mode to have robust and effective ways of choosing eligible councilors to participate in primary elections.
- Mobilization of constituencies to ensure that residents are aware of the government intentions in order to defend their vote.
- Lobbying for the strengthening of municipalities to have clear systems and mechanisms to pluck out corruption.
- If commissions are to be appointed there must be representatives drawn from rate payers, political parties and associations.
Source: Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA)