Civil society petitions Parly

HARARE - Close to 50 civil society organisations last week handed a petition to Parliament demanding the speedy alignment of local government laws with the Constitution and establishment of provincial and metropolitan councils in line with chapter 14 of the new constitution.

The organisations, led by Centre for Community Development in Zimbabwe, Chitungwiza Residents Trust, Zimbabwe United Residents Association and Harare Residents Trust, are demanding the alignment of laws to include devolution of administrative and financial decision-making power to the local and provincial levels as envisaged under Chapter 14 of the new constitution.

“We beseech the Parliament of Zimbabwe to uphold and fulfil its constitutional representative, oversight and legislative roles to ensure that the local government laws are aligned with the Constitution and international best practice without any further delay.

“In the interests of democracy and in fulfilment of the wishes of the electorate we call upon Parliament to prioritise the establishment of provincial and metropolitan Councils in line with the Constitution,” the petition read.

The organisations said the continued delay in the establishment of these two important local government institutions is hampering development in all districts and provinces which are supposed to play a key role in steering development in local authorities.

“Parliament should also ensure that any local governance laws proposed by the executive are democratic and in line with the current Constitution. These laws need to devolve governance, as enshrined in the Constitution.

“To that end, we pray to the Parliament of Zimbabwe that any proposed Bill should not centralise power, as opposed to devolving it.

“Parliament should ensure that any proposed local government legislation fulfils principles that are spelled out in Chapter 14 (Provincial and Local government) of the Constitution which include; devolution of power to local authorities, provincial and metropolitan councils; enhancing citizen participation in local governance; promoting democratic, effective, transparent, accountable and coherent local government in Zimbabwe; and recognising the right of communities to manage their own affairs and to promote peace, national unity and development.”

The petitioners also called upon Parliament to exercise its oversight role and ensure that there is a clear timeline, benchmarks and milestones in the formulation of the local government laws.

“We further ask Parliament to facilitate ordinary people’s input into the proposed legislation through holding public consultations across the country and with all local government stakeholders before the laws are adopted.”

Comments (1)

What do these organisations want parliament to do? They ought to beseech Mugabe and only him can do something about anything. The country is run by Mugabe alone, don't they know this? Go to Mugabe, if you can.

Yeoman Thomas - 1 April 2016

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