The Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) has expressed concern following government’s move to constitute a new Local Government Board (LGB) that will be seized with employing senior council officials.
The creation of a LGB is contrary to the devolution agenda and the new constitution according to CHRA.
“Despite the fact that the government has been touting devolution of power, the government is still clinging to unconstitutional provisions within the Urban Councils Act 29:15 to centralize power and control local authorities.
“Section 135 (1)(a) and (b) gives the Local Government Board power to approve or disapprove recommended persons by council for employment on “senior” positions , these include Town Clerk , Chamber Secretary ,directors and their deputies.
CHRA says, “Section 134 (1) States that “a council shall appoint persons approved by the Local Government Board to be seniors officials of the council.”
However, Section 274(2) of the Constitution asserts that “Urban local authorities are managed by councils composed of councilors.”
Section 276 (1) also reaffirms that “a local authority has the right to govern, on its own initiative, the local affairs of the people within the area for which it has been established, and has all the powers necessary to do so.”
“The provisions of the Urban Councils Act 29:15 that gives power to the Local Government Board in hiring senior management of council is inconsistent with the Constitution of Zimbabwe.
The organisation says the continued involvement of the central government in the selection and hiring of council employees has no place in any devolved system of governance as it weakens the council’s role in human resource management and accountability.
“We reiterate that the government expedites alignment of local government laws with the Constitution.”
Various Harare Council posts are currently occupied by temporary personnel as the LGB has not been operating so to approve recommended employees.