Munyaradzi-Paul Mangwana, the joint-chairman of the Constitution Select Committee (Copac), has launched an attack on his Zanu PF colleague and Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo, claiming his interventions in urban councils are “undemocratic and anti-development”.
Mangwana was guest speaker at the Residents’ Summit organised by Masvingo United Residents and Rate payers Association over the weekend.
The Chivi Central MP discussed the constitutional provisions for local government at the summit also attended by the Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association, Combined Harare Residents Association, Gweru Residents Association and Bulawayo Agenda. Mangwana said the Urban Council Act had given Chombo too much powers which he abuses through “wanton suspensions and firing of mayors”.
He claimed Chombo’s interventions which have led to the suspension of mayors in Chitungwiza, Gwanda, Chinhoyi and Mutare were “not in line with international best practices”.
Chombo has justified his meddling, insisting that he is protecting residents from the excesses of corrupt local authorities — most of which are run by the MDC-T.
The minister has faced accusations from the MDC-T and MDC that he uses the power to suspend individual councillors and mayors to settle political scores.
But it was the MDC-T which took the decision to expel its entire Chitungwiza council and fire its mayor for Masvingo over corruption allegations. The residents’ associations called on the government to push for the reinstatement of mayors and councillors who were suspended or fired under unclear circumstances and to amend the Urban Councils Act.
They also vowed to fight for devolution of power in the new constitution — and surprisingly got support from Mangwana, who appeared to break ranks with his party which has vowed to resist devolution.
Mangwana said a draft constitution written after public consultations provides for a devolved system of governance.
“There is a world of a difference between devolution and secession. The people of Masvingo should not be misled by those against devolution of power,” he said.
He stressed that devolution was “not a Matabeleland issue but a national one”.
He told representatives of the residents’ associations that 71% of Zimbabweans consulted by Copac during its outreach supported devolution of power. — Newzimbabwe.com