HomeNewsConsult us before recalling councillors: Residents

Consult us before recalling councillors: Residents

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BY VENERANDA LANGA

REPRESENTATIVES of various residents associations across the country have demanded to be consulted by political parties and central government particularly during the recall of elected councillors and appointment of caretaker commissions to run cities.

The issue came up yesterday during a virtual public discussion hosted by the Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) and different residents associations.

The discussion came amid reports that the Zanu PF-led government was planning to appoint a caretaker commission to run the City of Harare. Several MDC Alliance councillors have been recalled by the Thokozani Khupe led MDC-T, while others are on suspension over corruption allegations.

Harare mayor Herbert Gomba and five other councillors were recently arrested on allegations of corruption.

Chitungwiza and Manyame Rural District Council director Marvellous Khumalo said the current movement restrictions imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19 was making it difficult for citizens to meet and decide whether or not they welcomed the proposed caretaker commissions.

“For example, the issues around political parties’ powers to recall councillors are problematic and these are sensitive areas where the electorate elects someone, but they do not complete their term because their political party forces their term to be terminated prematurely and this is problematic,” Khumalo said.

“As political parties and stakeholders we are crippled in terms of mobilising our constituency to resist the recalls, but one strategy is to engage political parties to talk to them about the negative effects of recalls on the electorate,” he said.

Gweru Residents Forum director Charles Mazorodze said: “As residents associations, we have serious problems on how caretaker commissions run cities, for example the (Sekai) Makwavarara Commission in Harare worsened service delivery, and it is the same with the Tsunga Mhangami Commission in Gweru. We also need to ensure that as associations we have a voice.”

“We know that there is corruption happening at local authorities, but it is also a way by central government to try and divert us from its own corruption like COVID-GATE. The kind of politics that is now happening is very toxic and residents suffer when their elected councillors are recalled without the input of voters. It means central government sees residents as nothing,” Mazorodze said.

He said caretaker commissions did not necessarily serve the wishes of citizens as they were accountable to the appointing authority, precisely the Local Government minister.

Discussants also emphasised that political parties should second people of integrity to contest in council elections.

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