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  • Executive mayors axed
    Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA)
    January 28, 2008

    The Chief Secretary to the Office of the President and Cabinet Dr Misheck Sibanda on Friday announced in the Government Gazette that Cde Mugabe had signed into law the Local Government Laws Amendment Act which sailed through Parliament this month. The amendments effectively remove the post of Executive Mayor to a ceremonial one.

    The post of Executive Mayor was created in 1995 following a repeal of the Act that established the UCA 29:15. The Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) deplores the move by government. CHRA views it as baseless political strategy targeted at entrenching the power of the regime in local authorities. The opposition has over the years been controlling or winning mayoral seats in most urban areas. They have failed to perform largely due to continued interference from the Local Government ministry. The Minister of Local government, Public works and urban development, Dr I Chombo has even fired some of these Mayors on alleged charges of incompetence.

    The continued interference from central government has made it difficult for local authorities to operate independently. They did not have the liberty of borrowing powers and were not positively supported by the Local government ministry. The removal of the post of Executive Mayor will not improve the collapsed social services delivery. CHRA makes the following recommendations:

    • Reform of the Urban Councils Act as opposed to piecemeal amendments which do not improve local governance systems in Zimbabwe. The act in its current form is subject to manipulation for party political interests.
    • Free and fair local governance elections that will usher in a leadership chosen by the people, accountable to the people and sensitive to their needs.
    • Government must provide direct and indirect funding to local authorities to help them provide quality municipal services. In South Africa local authorities receive grants from the national budget.
    • CHRA also urges the constitutionalisation of local governance.

    CHRA continues albeit governments intransigence, to offer advice to Parliamentary portfolio committees and the Local government ministry on quality and transparent local government systems. CHRA has been training and capacitating residents to demand their rights. CHRA also distributes information on the goings on in local governance issues.

    Visit the CHRA fact sheet

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