The Harare Residents Trust says it has noted the recall of the Harare City Council (HCC) councillors by the Movement for Democratic Change-Tsvangirai (MDC-T) party in the capital city with concern.
The Trust says the latest recall of the councillors highlights the greater need for a more inclusive law making to enhance citizen participation in playing their oversight role in local authorities.
On 30 July 2018, the majority of the 1 958 local authorities ward councillors were elected along partisan tickets.
HRT says it is worrying that the Constitution has no provision that empowers the citizens as ratepayers to recall any elected councillors on allegations of incompetence, abuse of office, incompetence and corruption.
This responsibility is left to the political parties’ leadership to write to the respective accounting officers indicating that this or that Councillor has been expelled or no longer represents their political party interests in the local authority.
HRT maintains that they do this without consulting the electorate who voted for the candidates, which limits the practice of good democratic and accountable governance.
“It is argued that the recalls exposes the inadequacies of existing laws to safeguard the interests of ratepayers and counter the overbearing influence of political parties in the choice and oversight over Councillors,” says HRT.
The HRT says it recognises the importance of elected councillors, adding that their recall from council further disrupts the flow of policy making and governance, especially now at a time the City of Harare has been conducting virtual budget consultative meetings ahead of the unveiling of the 2021 City Budget.
“It is critical that the Mayor of Harare and his fellow Councillors who remain should focus their energies on attending to the immediate needs of ratepayers and unite council management in order to deliver social services in a more efficient and effective manner.
“Service delivery continues to suffer as a direct result of the partisan bickering among the councillors from the same political party.
“This limits the ability of the City of Harare to make progressive policies that responds to the challenges facing residents and ratepayers,” adds HRT.