Masvingo residents have rejected the proposed Local Government Amendment Bill saying it violates some provisions of Zimbabwe’s constitution.
Like people in other provinces, they told a committee overseeing the parliamentary outreach program gathering people’s views on the Bill that the proposed piece of legislation gives the Minister of Local Government too much power in running local authorities.
Masvingo United Residents and Ratepayers’ Alliance director, Anoziva Muguti, shot down the Bill saying it did not have the people at heart.
“We are against the Bill as we have realized that it violates certain sections of the constitution relating to devolution of power in local governance. The right to a fair trial and right to administrative justice, furthermore it is not independent as required by Section 278(2) of the constitution.
Sungano Zvarebwanashe of Majange high density suburb added that the Bill is intended to bring back some of the local government minister’s powers pruned by the Zimbabwe Constitution.
“This Bill must be rejected because it is giving more powers to the Minister to appoint Tribunal members and also it doesn’t stipulate a time frame for the reinstatement of mayors and councillors who will had been found not guilty of charged offenses.”
Other residents, including Entrance Takaedza, said the Bill was a ploy by the ruling party to get rid of all opposition party councilors and mayors in urban areas.
“The bill is giving the minister too much powers to nominate the chair and members of the tribunal and secondly as residents we are the people who voted for the councillors we know when they go wrong and it is us who should remove them.”
Fannie Phiri, chairperson of the parliamentary committee which visited Masvingo, hailed local residents for attending the hearing in large numbers.
“The turnout was good in Mutare and here it was quite good I urge organizations like residents association and political parties to make sure that their constituencies are well informed of such meetings.”
The meeting was characterized by disruptions from Zanu PF youths who tried to defend the Bill and accused members of residents groups of carrying out awareness campaigns before the public hearing. They refused to talk to this reporter after the meeting.