Chombo colliding arms of government

Recent reports that our dear Minister of Local Government rural and Urban Development, Dr I. Chombo, is seeking a court order which seeks to stall parliamentary debate on the need to amend the urban councils act [29:15] which has given him unlimited and unchecked powers over local authorities brought no surprise to the Association and its members.

Dr I. Chombo
Dr I. Chombo

Since 2000, I. Chombo has been at the helm of this respective ministry and history has got no good words for this gentleman considering that the evil he has done using this act runs deeper than anything positive he did since time in memory. He has enjoyed working with an act that gives him more than 400 roles to play in local authorities and provincial administration. So how can we expect the Minister to allow his wings to be clipped?

The recent move by Minister Chombo does not only contravene the by-tenets of good governance, but also act as a lubricant of setting a very wrong precedence of involving other arms of government in the operations of the other which goes against the principle of separation. Hon Tangwara Matimba introduced this bill in parliament last year proposing that the minister’s powers be strongly checked by amending the urban councils act.

This motion was moved after residents associations and civic pressure groups had called for the review of this act on a number of times after Chombo had gone on overdrive, rooting out most of the elected councilors. To that effect, we believe that Chombo, in his right sense of mind made a huge mistake in approaching and involving the courts in matters of parliamentary engagement. This assertion is based on the failure by the Minister to properly interpret what the law says especially given that we are currently in a government of national unity.

Chombo is asserting that no other person other than a cabinet minister can initiate legislation during the tenure of the G.P.A. In solidifying his argument, the Minister is sighting section 20.1.2 (c) of the constitution of Zimbabwe which states that:

“The Cabinet shall have the responsibility to prepare and present to Parliament, all such legislation and other instruments as may be necessary to implement the policies and programmes of the National Executive”

However, the Minister is wrong considering that the relevant provisions of Schedule 4 of the Constitution state that any Bill may originate from the House of Assembly. This is further cemented by section 32 which then says that the President and parliament shall form the legislature. Without diving into much legal detail, we believe that it is categorically clear that Hon Tangwara Matimba did justice to due process and this has got to be respected by all the other members of parliament from all the political parties and be man enough to engage in the debate.

CHRA is very much determined to have the urban councils act amended and the areas of amendment should border around the roles played by the minister and include more checks and balances in the operations of local government by legally involving residents in its operations.

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