Dissolving Byo council a negation of devolution

THE Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) has said dissolving the MDC-led council and replacing it with a government-appointed Commission would be a negation of devolution values.

BY NQOBANI NDLOVU

The residents association has also refuted claims that it was using the cover of citizen’s governance issues to push a political agenda, in particular the dissolution of the MDC-led council.

“BPRA wishes to unequivocally distance itself from any such suggestion for the dissolution of council and imposition of an unelected commission. It is both a deliberate misrepresentation of the deliberations of the organisation’s founding values and an antithesis of the position and governance trajectory of the BPRA membership,” BPRA coordinator Emmanuel Ndlovu said at a meeting on Friday last week.

“BPRA, above everything else, has been championing the constitutional cause of bringing governance ever closer to the communities and realising the letter and spirit of Chapter 14 provisions of Devolution in the Constitution.
“A ministerial commission would be the biggest negation and reversal thus far of the tough gains and milestones we have made towards devolution.”

BPRA on Friday held an all-stakeholders indaba in the city centre to discuss the merits and demerits of a Commission with residents strongly opposing the suggestion.

BPRA had invited to the meeting representatives from the Combined Harare Residents Association and Gweru Residents and Ratepayers Trust to share their experiences with commissions in their cities.

At the meeting, residents resolved that the MDC rather recalls any corrupt councillors to pave way for a by-election than allow the setting up of a Commission to run the city’s affairs. Last week, MDC deputy president Welshman Ncube warned against residents and pressure groups pushing for the dissolution of the MDC-led council.

“In all our citizen development efforts, particularly at the local level, the real elephant in the room are political parties that pursue cheap political ascendancy and continue to meddle in the apolitical affairs of residents,” Ndlovu added.

“The interests of residents, who face plunder of public resources and collapsing services are bigger than the narrow mandates of bickering political operatives whose selfish purpose requires that they divide residents. Residents must refuse the temptation to be dragged into cheap, divisive, tribal and personalised mandates and keep their eyes on the ball.”

Over a week ago Local Government minister, July Moyo dispatched a team of investigators to Bulawayo to probe corruption and mismanagement allegations at the country’s second largest city.

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