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­Govt Proposes Law To Override Councils

Govt Proposes Law To Override Councils

Senior Staff Writer

Environment and Climate Minister Mangaliso Ndlovu says government plans to amend the Environment Management Act to allow central government “to intervene” if local authorities fluff their responsibilities to maintain clean environments.

Ndlovu was addressing backbenchers Wednesday during the ministers’ question time in parliament.

The bill seeks to arm central government with legal tools to intervene and override local authorities in cases of “apparent failure on service delivery”, particularly in urban areas.

“I can say possibly, first quarter or second quarter of 2024, we will be bringing the EMA Amendment Bill,” Ndlovu said.

“I pray that my esteemed honourable Members of Parliament will debate this issue so that we have a piece of legislation that allows the central government to intervene when there is apparent failure on service delivery as we are witnessing currently in urban areas.”

While the proposed law could, at face value, sound well intended, it is highly unlikely to inspire confidence within the lot of Zimbabweans who have seen relentless government interference in local authorities run by the opposition.

The opposition accuses the Zanu PF controlled central government of overplaying its hand in council affairs and blames some of its admirative flaws to continued interference by the state.

In June of last year, the Ministry of Local Government diverted over US$55 million of devolution funds administered by local authorities to purchase fire tenders from Belarus for 89 councils, allegedly at an inflated cost.

The contract was awarded to Alexander Zingman of Aftrade DMCC, a business ally of President Emmerson Mnangagwa, without going through the correct tender procedure process.

On Wednesday, local government minister Winston Chitando ordered the recall of 17 CCC councillors at the behest of self-imposed CCC secretary general Sengezo Tshabangu who claimed the targeted officials had ceased to be members of the main opposition.

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