Opposition parties, civic groups and Harare residents have described the Local Government Amendment Bill as a ploy by Zanu PF to remove all MDC-T-led councils and acquire land to campaign for the 2018 elections.
This came out during a public discussion in Harare on the Local Government Amendment Bill (2016) that was organised by the Combined Harare Residents’ Association on Wednesday night.
Speaker after speaker said Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere, who is pushing the Bill, wanted to eliminate opposition-led urban councils for Zanu PF to get as much land as possible to dish out to youths and other ruling supporters to ensure President Robert Mugabe wins the 2018 elections.
“They now want to amend the Constitution to remove Presidential terms, and I think Zimbabweans must change their tactics of doing demonstrations to a silent revolution and go and vote against Mugabe in 2018 because people cannot continue to support gross incompetence,” National Constitutional Assembly leader Lovemore Madhuku said.
“In the Constitution, a President cannot be removed from office except that he can be impeached by a third of MPs, which means 90 MPs should support impeachment, and after the MDC-T recalled MPs it is impossible to impeach Mugabe.”
Madhuku said the opposition’s decision to recall MPs who had crossed over to Tendai Biti’s Renewal Team was a huge mistake as the opposition numbers in Parliament had seriously dwindled.
He said it was now impossible for the opposition to thwart bad laws like the Local Government Amendment Bill.
“The Constitution is flawed in that it allows mayors and councillors to be removed through an independent tribunal, yet the same Constitution is silent on removal of a President or MPs due to gross incompetence, gross misconduct, ill health, conviction of a criminal offence or violation of the laws,” Madhuku said.
Harare West MP Jessie Majome (MDC-T) said the Bill was hurriedly prepared in order to legally deal with the removal of Harare mayor Bernard Manyenyeni.
“The Bill is a Manyenyeni Bill. It is empty, and is an insult to ratepayers. It is a political dynamic to ensure wanton firing of mayors,” Majome said.
Chitungwiza Residents’ Trust director Marvellous Khumalo said people should reject the Bill as it was a Zanu PF ploy to control local authorities, grab land and use it as a trump card to win the 2018 elections at the expense of service delivery.
“The issue with this Bill is to control major cities as we approach the 2018 general elections. Kasukuwere wants to control local authorities so that he gets the land he wants and that is why he does not want people like Manyenyeni to interfere,” Khumalo said.
Parliament will conduct public hearings on the Bill from June 13.