By Kudakwashe Vhenge
Harare Metropolitan Residents Forum (HAMREF) has expressed it’s dismay over Local Governance minister, July Moyo’s challenge of the semi-autonomy operations of departments within City of Harare and his call for restructuring of the councils organogram.
In an internal circular sent by Moyo to Harare Mayor, Herbert Gomba, the minister condemned devolution implementation stipulated by the 2013 Constitution of Zimbabwe adding it was necessary to restructure council’s administration.
In a statement released by the forum yesterday Monday, HAMREF expressed dismay over Minister Moyos challenge of the semi-autonomy operations of departments within City of Harare and his call for restructuring of the councils organogram.
“Semi-autonomy operation is a key ingredient of Devolution. Semi-autonomy operations of departments at City of Harare create space for ring-fencing of departmental accounts. Ring fencing of departmental accounts is meant to ensure money collected within each department is invested back to the division generating that revenue.
“That in itself is another key issue on devolution and the attack on semi-autonomy operations and the implicit drive for centralized system expresses bad approach to Devolution ethos,” reads the statement.
This publication got hold of the internal communication dated 16 October 2019.
In the letter, the Minister said that functions at Harare City Council which see each department operating with its own staff are heavily burdening council resources hence the need to restructure its administration.
“Departments operating in silos whereby each department has its own support staff dedicated to it has created semi-autonomous units. This facilitates loss of organizational cohesion and creates a bloated support staff a compliment which weighs heavily on council resources resulting in the council failing to discharge its mandate,” it reads.
The Minister went further to instruct a review of the councils organogram as well as adoption of a program based approach.
“You are therefore advised to revise the citys organogram as a matter of urgency assigning Program Managers in line with the adopted Program Based Approach,” said Moyo.
HAMREF however expressed that by calling for the restructuring of the City Councils organogram; the Minister is rather reversing the process of devolution as mandated by the country’s constitution, showing his desire to control local authorities.
“Whilst Minister Moyo is concerned about City of Harare organogram and staffing, an opportunity presents itself through Section 270(2) of the 2013 Constitution of Zimbabwe which provides for establishment, structure and staffing of lower tiers of Government.
“Instead of pushing for enabling legislation on Devolution which should provide for such institutional structures including its staffing, Minister July Moyo issues decrees and internal circulars. That in itself exposes the desire to control and place Local Authorities under the whim & whip of the Ministry of Local Government,” it reads.
Efforts to get a comment from July Moyo were fruitless as he was not picking up his cellphone.
Currently the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Local Governance is waiting on the devolution bill to be tabled in parliament.
Before being signed into law, the bill is expected to spell out structures, staffing as well as coordination of tires of Government in line with Section 265 (3) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.