‘Govt interference frustrating councils’

Local Government minister July Moyo

A LOCAL governance pressure group has cited political interference by the Local Government ministry as the major stumbling block to councils’ efforts to improve service delivery.

In a recent report titled Democratic Local Governance, Devolution and Citizen Participation in Zimbabwe, Community Tolerance Reconciliation and Development (COTRAD) said the Local Government minister wielded too much power over local authorities, which must be clipped through legislative measures.

COTRAD said the Local Government minister had unilateral and undemocratic powers to dismiss errant or insubordinate local councillors and to appoint commissioners in their place.

“Local government budget proposals largely emanate from consultations with citizens and ministerial unilateralism literally disfranchises local communities as it has often been propelled by political considerations.  There are a lot of instances whereby the Local Government minister from the ruling Zanu PF party has been firing opposition councillors for insubordination, corruption and other unsubstantiated allegations,” the COTRAD political economy analysis said.

“Hence, Zimbabwe has a largely bifurcated political landscape, for the disbursement and management of devolution funds has often been politicised in ways that severely firepower local authorities and exclude citizens from being actively involved in development planning processes.  Moreover, the Presidential prerogative to appoint 10 ministers of State for Provincial Affairs for each of the country’s 10 provinces is frustrating the devolution process.”

It called for de-politicisation of local government operations through various measures such as legislation.

COTRAD said local government should be a collective and inclusive institution that accommodates various sections of the community.


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