Zimbabwe: Govt Interference Hamper Local Councils Operations

6 August 2020

Excessive interference into local councils business by central government is negatively affecting efficiency in service delivery, Secretary for Local Government and Rural Development in the opposition party, MDC-Alliance, Sesel Zvidzai has said.

Zvidzai also bemoaned the fact that most senior managers running the local councils are holding their positions on acting capacity with government constantly dictating the office bearers, contrary to council laws which empowers elected Councillors to run local affairs.

"Most local authorities in the country are poorly staffed. The majority of councils are sadly ran by senior managers that are occupying positions in acting capacities, a situation that is a recipe for disaster in this important sector which sits at the coal face of the livelihoods of the people," Zvidzai said in a statement.

Nearly all urban councils are run by the MDC-Alliance, but due to alleged political interference by central government in these councils, its members have found it difficult to implement developmental goals.

"This situation is a result of central government's appetite for micromanagement of councils in contravention of the constitution which give powers to elected councils to run local affairs out of their own initiative and autonomously. Central government wants to decide who should be Town clerk, chamber Secretary or indeed any senior management position," said Zvidzai

He called on the Minister of local government not to interfere with hiring of employees on partisan grounds.

"We implore the minister of local government to allow councils to employ without interference. We posit that the Local Government Board, has no place in a devolved local government system and should not be used to employ unqualified and partisan staff. The quality of services and efficiency and effectiveness of councils is directly related to the quality, suitability, skills and experience of senior staff," he added.

Zvidzai said the appointment of politically connected, yet unsuitable staff is the catalysis for corruption and inefficiency in councils today and the fight against corruption is lost if this practice is not stopped quickly.

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