LONG-TIME advisor to the late Morgan Tsvangirai, Ian Makone, will run in Harare’s Ward 18 on an MDC Alliance ticket in the 30 July elections.
Apparently, if Makone triumphs as councillor for this Borrowdale ward, the post of Harare mayor will be next in line.
By Precious Shumba.
Herbert Gomba, now vying for a third straight term as Harare’s Glen Norah B Ward 27’s Councillor, is also angling for the City’s mayoral post.
On the other hand, Evan Mawarire of the #ThisFlag and now founder of the Independent network, Povo, is also contesting in the 30 July elections as an Independent Council Candidate for Ward 17, Mt Pleasant, Harare.
Mawarire, a cleric by calling, has made no secret his desire to become Harare’s next Mayor.
Notwithstanding the nightmarish experiences the outgoing Harare mayor, Ben Manyenyeni, has gone through, the stampede for the post is alarming.
All mayoral positions in Zimbabwe are ceremonial and lack the executive authority to command, monitor, direct and control municipality management.
In respect of the above anomalies, Local Government experts have blamed the Urban Councils’ Act (Chapter 29.15) for its “circumventing what would have been some enabling provisions”.
For all the rush to grab the mayoral seat by the above three, it is alarming to note the “echoing silence” by politicians concerning the urgent need to overhaul the Urban Councils’ Act as a precondition for Zimbabwe’s 2018 harmonised elections.
Without significant changes to the legislation governing local authorities, similar problems to those being experienced currently by councils across the country will likely rear their ugly head in the foreseeable future.
Or could it be that political parties and politicians don’t care a hoot about necessary amendments to the Urban Councils’ Act as long as it allows them, in current form, to loot both the land and other council resources within their jurisdiction.
Without legislative reforms, the ceremonial mayor will not be able to significantly influence structural reforms in councils as well as improve efficiency and effectiveness.
Performance by councillors currently depends largely on the goodwill of those in charge of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Ministry, particularly the Minister and the Permanent Secretary.
If these guys at Central Government want life for councillors to be difficult, the laws don’t stop them from doing so.
Notwithstanding the Urban Councils’ Act, the Constitution provides for the strengthening of local authorities and an increase in the participation of citizens in the governance and administration of their cities.
All this, however, is theoretical. The existing practice makes local government administration a highly contested terrain.
With that in mind, it would be of interest to listen to the almost entire lies that those on the campaign trail will claim the ability to achieve once ushered into office.
Citizen should know exactly what their Councillor or Mayor does on their behalf as a policymaker. Offering the electorate a “pie in the air” should not be condoned any longer!
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