By Lloyd Takawira
A storm is brewing in the dormitory town of Chitungwiza after, Local government Minister Honourable July Moyo’s unilaterally appointed Zanu PF ward 13 councillor, Kiven Mutimbanyoka as deputy mayor.
In a letter to Chitungwiza Municipality, Moyo said he has taken note that Chitungwiza Municipality has been operating without a deputy mayor and that the councillors have failed to elect among themselves a deputy mayor.
“The post has been vacant since ,20 November 2020 and the council has failed or neglected to appoint a deputy mayor in terms of the Urban Councils Act Chapter 29:15. In terms of section 104(4) of the Urban Councils Act Chapter 29:15, l hereby appoint Kiven Mutimbanyoka ward 13 as deputy mayor for Chitungwiza.”
However, the appointment has renewed intense scrutinization with residents questioning the power of the minister in appointing a substantive deputy mayor.
What remains questionable is if the Minister is empowered to do so other than a full Council elect a Deputy according to Urban Act.
Harare Residents’ Trust (HRT) said they have consistently demanded that central government’s role in the running of our local authorities should be kept at a minimal to allow local authorities to run their affairs in terms of the law.
“Unfortunately, in recent months, the organisation has noted with alarm and shock government’s direct interference into the affairs of Chitungwiza Municipality and Harare City Council. Town House sources claim that the Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution in Harare Metropolitan Province, the Provincial Development Coordinator and the Minister of Local Government and Public Works have taken turns to issue written and oral directives to the Chitungwiza and Harare local authorities on the pretext of public interest and restoring sanity”.
Chitungwiza Community Development Network Programs officer, Admire Mutize said that, as residents they expect a democratic process were councilors elect among themselves a competent individual to the post.
“We welcome the filling of critical post at Chitungwiza town house, but we expected a democratic process were the councilors themselves elect one of their own to ascend to the post of deputy Mayor. While the Appointment of the deputy mayor for Chitungwiza by The Hon. Minister of Local govt is within the remit of his powers and acceptable. We hope the Appointment will not be a disappointment for participatory governance in Chitungwiza” said Mutize.
Chitungwiza residents trust (CHITREST) director Alice Diana Kuvheya said that the move by local government Minister is shocking.
“How can you do it without following the urban act/constitution. This is unbelievable that a whole minister wakes up and decides to break the law . The whole town is in shock” “