Local govt legislation review a joke

EDITOR — When I first heard that the UNDP was acting as technical support to the ministry of Local Government which was reviewing Zimbabwe’s local government legislation, I was excited.

Local Government is responsible for so much of service delivery — whether there is clean water in our taps, our refuse is collected and whether our roads are potholed or patched.

So I thought that maybe this new legislation would take advantage of the improvements the Constitution provides, and really make a difference.

Instead, I have read through the proposed Local Authorities Bill and the proposed Provincial and Metropolitan Councils Administration Bill, and I am insulted.

The reasons I am insulted are:

  • The proposed Provincial and Metropolitan Councils Administration Bill administers provincial and metropolitan councils, but it’s unclear what these councils do, or who pays for them. Is this just more jobs and more patronage positions?
  • The proposed Local Authorities Bill makes no mention of these provincial and metropolitan councils. If government were serious about decentralisation and devolution, like the Constitution says, it would give some power to the provincial councils to oversee and interact with local authorities. Instead, all local authority activities are still organised through the ministry of Local Government.
  • The proposed Local Authorities Bill doesn’t take any power away from the ministry of Local Government. The new Bill is just the current Urban Councils Act plus Rural District Councils Act merged into one document. Nothing changes. Local government doesn’t have any more power, independence, capacity or freedom from interference by the ministry of Local Government than it currently does.
  • The proposed legislation doesn’t do anything to make it easier for me as a resident to be engaged with local government.It doesn’t make it easier for me to get financial statements or audited accounts from the city. It doesn’t make it easier for me to get minutes of council meetings or change of use proposals.

Personally, I’m saying a very big NO to this proposed legislation. They should not insult us by telling us that they are “revising laws to align them with the new Constitution” when they are not.

Zimbabwe’s 2013 Constitution should be making things better for ordinary citizens.

Amanda Artwood

    Comments (1)

    I see a lot of misconceptions in this article.it was written from an uninformed view point,this kind of reporting is really a joke. anyora uyu anoda kudzidziswa.

    bobman - 13 September 2014

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