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GNU urged to curtail excessive powers vested in the Minister of
for Community Development in Zimbabwe (CCDZ)
February 25, 2012
The Centre for
Community Development in Zimbabwe (CCDZ) expresses its disappointment
and concern over recent developments by the Minister of Local Government
which serve to militate against positive service delivery in urban
and rural councils.
It is clear
that Minister Chombo is targeting MDC councils that he wants to
neutralize ahead of the planned elections in 2012/2013. Although
there might be genuine cases of corruption involving these officials,
it is baffling why it is only officials from one political party
in the inclusive
government that are targeted. There is urgent need for reforms
in local government to rid it of partisan interference. The imperial
powers vested in the Minister must be curtailed. There are plenty
of suspected/reported cases of corruption in ZANU PF-run councils
which are never investigated.
In almost all
rural communities where CCDZ is working there are reports of ZANU
PF councilors diverting agricultural inputs for their own benefit
at the expense of the intended beneficiaries; the communities Minister
Chombo is also deliberately disregarding the people's will
by using imposing the so-called 'Special Interest' councilors
in wards where MDC-T won.
Equally worrying is the Ministers interference with traditional
leaders. CCDZ notes with great alarm the unilateral the installations
and removal of chiefs and the creation of new Headmen and Village
Heads in former commercial farming areas.
has also announced that the Ministry of Local Government will in
the next eight months create new boundaries for chiefdoms. Given
the already partisan approach to local government issues, there
is a possibility that this is a deliberate political move to give
chiefs who support ZANU PF an advantage over those perceived to
be MDC. In light of this, CCDZ takes this as defacto delimitation
ahead of the impending election. Delimitation of constituencies
is the purview of the Delimitation Commission as per the Electoral
Act. The Minister of Local Government is acting ultra vires
powers by tampering with traditional chiefdom boundaries to give
ZANU PF an electoral edge over other parties.
We suspect that
the distribution of blankets, food, agricultural inputs and the
electrification of chiefs' rural homesteads could be a ploy
to 'buy' the loyalty of chiefs ahead of the next elections.
This would be in violation of the Traditional Leaders Act which
stipulates that chiefs should not be involved in political matters.
activities, community members have reported that the so-called 'Special
Interest Councilors' are being used for partisan purposes
by Minister Ignatius Chombo. Others have gone as far as alleging
that the Special Interest Councilors have become more powerful than
the elected councilors. CCDZ urges these Councilors to invest their
energy into solving the day to day problems which affect ordinary
Zimbabweans such as the recent typhoid outbreak and other critical
service delivery issues; rather than to meddle in petty political
CCDZ would also like to express its concern over the increased harassment
of vendors and small scale business owners with links to political
parties. Given the current estimated 80% unemployment rate, such
actions have the same effect as Operation Murambatsvina in that
they seek to destabilize the livelihoods of Zimbabweans who are
not in formal employment.
It is our hope that the Second Draft Constitution of Zimbabwe will
contain progressive provisions which constitutionalise local government
matters. and protect it from partisan interference by the Minister.
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for Community Development fact
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