The Community Water Alliance has said it does not see any value in the Commissioners that have been appointed by the Ministry of Local Government and described the move as a deliberate ploy to undermine Section 277 (3) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.
The water activists and advocates noted that Section 277 (3) states that “except as otherwise provided in subsection (2) or an Act of Parliament , mayors, chairpersons and councillors of local authorities assume office on the NINTH DAY after the announcement of the results of the general election in which the councillors were elected”.
The organisation registered its displeasure over the appointment of Commissions in Mutare, Harare, Chegutu, Chinhoyi, Gwanda and Gweru in response to a Ministerial directive to that effect.
“The issue of Ministerial directives to Local Authority operations has caused problems in the smooth operations of Local Authorities and has created a blame game as well as finger-pointing which has allowed duty bearers to neglect their obligations to fulfil, protect and respect the human rights to water and sanitation.
“Chapter 14 of the 2013 Constitution of Zimbabwe which speaks to provincial and local government, clearly stipulates the DEVOLUTION foundation upon which Zimbabwean local governance is built,” Community Water Alliance said
Information gleaned by the organisation reveals that many Commissioners have been appointed in different cities. In Chitungwiza Mr Macheka is the Chairperson and a losing political party council candidate for ward 23.
In Gwanda former Mayor Rido Mpofu is the Chairperson and is supported by Commissioners allegedly drawn from a political party district executive. In Chegutu the Chairperson is allegedly related to Cabinet officials. In Redcliff the Chairperson of the Commission is a Provincial Chairperson of a political party.
“We take reservation with appointment of Commissions because 1) they open room for conflict and set Local Authorities on unnecessary partisan operations especially with appointments made on party basis, 2) the constitution says councillors must assume office on ninth day after announcement of results of general elections 3) their allowances are drawn from rates paid by residents and they deplete few resources at disposal of Local Authorities and 4) they have a history of looting Local Authorities dry.
“We are calling upon the government to respect our constitution by abolishing these Commissions and ensuring that councillors assume office in line with Section 277(3) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe,” said Mr Hardlife Mudzingwa, the Coordinator of the Community Water Alliance.