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Urban Councils Act amendment long overdue-MP

Minister of Local Government, Rural and Urban Development Dr Ignatius Chombo has been blasted for using the Urban Councils Act to turn himself into a “demi god.”

Addressing Bulawayo residents at the Small City Hall onFriday, MP for Buhera Central Tangwara Matimba said Dr Chombo was abusing the act to his good, and as such there was a need to amend the act sooner that later.

“With the kind of act that we have, we now have a god with a small “g”. He has been blocking our appeals to have the act amended and true to it is only the God’s case that has no appeal,” said Matimba.

He said Dr Chombo’s powers should be curtailed in the Urban Councils Amendment Bill.

“This bill should be taken seriously and an outreach to be people should be undertaken so that people understand what is being talked about,” said Matimba.

He said wanted the Urban Councils Act to reduce the powers of Chombo and central government over municipal and town councils thereby encouraging democracy at local levels.
Bulawayo Deputy Mayor Amen Mpofu said it was a pity that the Urban Councils Act which they used as their “bible” was an “unholy bible.”

“If everything went according to me, I was going to throw away the document away and start afresh, because the document is hell working with,” said Mpofu.

He said whoever came up with the legislature had a one party state mind set.

On 25th October 2011 year the House of Assembly passed a resolution giving Hon Tangwara Matimba permission to introduce a Private Member’s Bill to amend the Urban Councils Act.

The Bill [available from] was subsequently gazetted and introduced in the House by Hon Matimba on 28th February.

Its main purpose, as outlined in its explanatory memorandum, is to reduce the powers of central government over municipal and town councils, thereby encouraging democracy at local levels.

Following its introduction the Bill received a non-adverse report from the Parliamentary Legal Committee. This indicated that in the Committee’s opinion the Bill did not contravene any provision of the Constitution.

Since 2002, MDCs have managed to secure victory in the urban council elections sweeping past Zanu PF councillors.

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