Chombo’s wings clipped

Zimbabwe’s new constitution, if passed into law, will significantly reduce the powers of the Local Government Minister, especially regarding the firing of councillors and mayors.

Ignatius Chombo
Ignatius Chombo

Section 14:15 (2) states that councillors, chairpersons or mayors can only be removed from office by a two thirds resolution of Parliament for offences such as gross incompetence, gross misconduct, inability to perform and wilful violation of the law.

The draft also takes away the minister’s powers to appoint councillors.

The Urban Councils Act, which currently governs the operations of councils, gives the Local Government Minister sweeping powers in the running of district councils. The current minister, Ignatius Chombo, has used his excessive powers to remove democratically elected MDC councillors and mayors for more than a decade.

Since 2000, when a newly formed MDC dominated urban councils across the country, Chombo has been meddling in the affairs of local authorities, firing MDC elected representatives and replacing them with commissions.

In many instances, these commissions comprised defeated Zanu (PF) candidates and other party apologists handpicked by Chombo as part of the party’s patronage system.

Most of the commissions drained the councils by drawing large sums of money in allowances at the expense of service delivery.

Chombo also rewarded party apologists by appointing “Special Interest Councillors”, who have caused confusion in local councils and have of late been accused of spying on his behalf.

Post published in: News

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