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» » » » » Masvingo residents, councillors reject Local Governance Bill

Itai Muzondo

MASVINGO - With residents of Masvingo voicing opposition to the Local Governance Amendment Bill, councillors in the city have also come on board and rejected the controversial bill saying it vests too much power in the local governance minister.
The Bill seeks to, among other things, provide for the suspension and expulsion of elected council office bearers by the responsible minister.
Most residents who attended a parliamentary outreach programme at Mucheke Hall last week said the bill did not reflect the need to serve the people.
The councillors have also argued that the proposed bill was bad as it gave the minister too much power in the running of local authorities.
"The Bill is not good at all since it subjects council to dictates from the minister," Masvingo Deputy Mayor and Ward 3 councillor James Chiwara said.
Chiwara's opinion was echoed by Ward 9 councillor, Babylon Beta.
 "This proposed bill is just based on giving the minister power to remote control all council business," Beta said.
Ward 7 councillor Richard Musekiwa said the proposed amendments were aimed at giving control to one person with no regard for service delivery.
"I thought the bill will be focused on improving service delivery. Instead, the bill tries to pave way for political wars," said Musekiwa.
Against Chiteme of Ward 8 said the bill was designed to reverse the democratic choices of the people.
"Why should a bill try to challenge what the people would have said? If parliament passes the bill, the electoral system would then have to be abolished since all the power would be in the hands of one individual," Chiteme said.
Residents rejected the bill saying government wants to hand-pick its people to run councils as the incumbent Minister of Local Governance, Savior Kasukuwere is attempting to do at Harare and Gweru city councils.
 "We are against it as it is ultra vires the constitution. We don't want the minister to have too many powers over elected council officials. A tribunal appointed by the Minister can never be independent so as residents, we are against the whole bill," said a Mucheke

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