By Munesu Nyakudya
Central government has been accused of meddling in local councils through unilateral directives which go against local plans thus impinging on development according to a Norton Councilor.
Norton Ward 7 Councilor Douglas Chililo says though they are working together as a Council comprised of 2 Independent and 11 MDC Alliance Councilors one of the biggest hinderances has come from the Ministry of Local Government.
“We have got some challenges that we are facing that sometimes we get directives from the Ministry which contradict the way in which we want to work and develop our town”.
“We just receive a letter from the Ministry informing us to act in a certain way and detailing how we should go about our business.
“Unfortunately, this may be going against the Council policy and plans”.
Cllr Chililo said due to these directives they have had to change their plans to accommodate central government directives.
“We cannot contest against these so my appeal is that the Ministry should let us do what is good for Norton.
“As policy makers, people born and bred here we want to see our town developing and they should let us take all the steps that we need in order to achieve what we want to achieve as a Council”, he added.
The Councilor’s allegations are not new with Harare Councilors from the MDC Alliance also accusing central government of making them spectators in Council business.
According to them the Urban Council’s Act allows the Local Government Minister too much power to direct and get involved in Council business.
Also the removal of an Executive Mayor has been cited as a weakening scheme to allow Council management led by Town Clerks, and usually selected by a board chosen by the ruling party, to control Councils.
Government has however repeatedly dismissed the allegations and said the predominantly opposition led urban Councils are simply failing to run things.
Norton has 16 Wards, whilst 13 of them compose the Norton Town Council, the other 3 Councilors are part of Chegutu Rural District Council.
It’s political set up is made much more unique by the legislative role being occupied by another independent politician, Temba Mliswa.