Ministry of Local Government
At the cornerstone of government policy is the understanding that local government is concerned with local democracy and the decentralisation of designated powers and responsibilities from central government to lower tier structures. It has therefore been seen fit to establish sub-national institutions in the form of Urban and Rural District Councils in the urban and rural areas respectively which are nearer to the people and therefore can more speedily attend to the challenges and developmental issues peculiar to their areas of jurisdiction. In a bid to ensure maximum participation in decision making and overall development in the rural areas, the government has gone further to establish ward and village assemblies which uphold the role of traditional leadership.The system of local government in Zimbabwe provides a sound arrangement within which local people fulfil and exercise their democratic rights. Secondly, as development is a collaborative endeavour, the local government approach allows the combination of local and national resources in local development.
There are twenty-eight Urban Councils which have been established throughout the country as provided for in the Urban Councils Act [Chapter 29:15]. While these are established under the same Act, the urban councils have been accorded different status.
The lowest on the hierarchy of urban councils are local boards established in settlements that have very small populations but have a potential to grow into big urban centres. Local Boards are also established where a centre has peculiar circumstances and where they would require Government assistance to sustain themselves There are four such local boards established at Hwange, Ruwa, Epworth and Chirundu.
The second on the hierarchy are town councils which are 8 in number namely Karoi, Norton, Shurugwi, Zvishavane, Rusape , Chipinge, Plumtree and Chiredzi. These are centres that have grown from service centres in the rural areas to a size sufficient for them to stand alone.
There are ten municipal councils which occupy the third position in the hierarchy of local authorities. These include, Bindura, Chegutu, Chinhoyi, Chitungwiza, Gwanda, Kariba, Marondera, Masvingo, Redcliff and Victoria Falls.
The councils with the highest status in the country are the city councils established in Harare, Bulawayo, Gweru, Mutare, Kwekwe and Kadoma.
The Election System
Urban Councils, with the exception of Chirundu Local Board, are divided into wards for the purpose of electing councillors. Local Boards and Town Councils are headed by a chairman who is elected from among the councillors, by the councillors at their first meeting following a general election. General elections are held every four years. In the case of Municipal and City Councils, an Executive Mayor is elected every four years by all residents to head Council. Unlike the local board and town council chairman, the Executive Mayor holds office on a full time basis and exercises executive powers conferred on him/her by the Urban Councils Act.
Local Boards and Town Councils employ Town Secretaries to head their administrations while the Municipal and City Councils' are headed by Town Clerks. Different heads of departments deputise the head of administration. The executive are responsible for the implementation of Council decisions and for the day to day running of Council affairs.
Powers of Urban Councils
The legislation governing the operations of urban councils confers on them a wide range of powers, which include:
Water for domestic, commercial or industrial areas
Hospitals, clinics, ambulances, maternity and child welfare
Schools, libraries, theatres and musical and scientific institutions
Provision of housing and transport facilities
Construction and maintenance of drains, sewers, bridges, parking
Cleansing and refuse removal disposal
Prevention of air, land and water pollution
Operation of fire brigades and municipal police
Provision of parks
Recreation grounds and open spaces
WORK ADDRESS :
Corner Leopold Takawira & Herbert Chitepo
TELEPHONE NO. : 04-793700/791470
Ministry of Local Government Website- http://www.mlgurd.gov.zw/