Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
THE Local Government Laws Amendment Bill which seeks to amend the Rural District Council Act and Urban Councils Act was on Tuesday tabled before the National Assembly.
Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Deputy Minister Christopher Chingosho tabled the Bill before Speaker of the National Assembly, Advocate Jacob Mudenda, who referred it to the Parliamentary Legal Committee for further scrutiny to see if it is consistent with the Constitution.
The major highlight of the Bill is the establishment of an independent tribunal to deal with the removal of mayors, councillors and council chairpersons in a manner consistent with Section 278 of the Constitution, which stipulated that there should be an independent tribunal.
Some of the grounds provided by Clause 2 of the Bill for removal of such officials include gross incompetence, inability to perform functions due to mental or physical incapacity, gross misconduct, conviction of an offence involving dishonesty, corruption or abuse of office, and wilful violation of the law.
One major aspect of the Bill is the involvement of the Judicial Service Commission in constituting the tribunal.
The relevant Clause reads, “An independent tribunal shall consist of:
(a) A chairperson appointed by the Minister from a list of at least three and not more than nine registered legal practitioners with at least five years’ experience in private or public practice, who shall be nominated by the Judicial Service Commission (if the original list consists of fewer than nine nominees, the Minister may request an additional nominee or list of nominees so that the total number of nominees including those in the original list do not exceed nine); and,
(b) Subject to subsection (3), two other members appointed by the Judicial Service Commission from a list of at least three and not more than nine persons nominated by the Minister, who shall be persons experienced in local government administration, whether as former councillors or as administrators (if the original list consists of fewer than nine nominees, the Judicial Service Commission may request an additional nominee or list of nominees so that the total number of nominees including those in the original list do not exceed nine).”
Meanwhile, female Members of Parliament threatened to resume sitting on the floor of Parliament Chamber if Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi did not respond to the Portfolio Committee report on Foreign Affairs regarding the plight of women trafficked to Kuwait.
Proportional representative Mrs Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga (MDC) asked Adv Mudenda to ensure that Minister Mumbengegwi responded to their concerns.
Goromonzi West MP Cde Beata Nyamupinga said they would go to the Kuwait embassy if Minister Mumbengegwi did not respond on time.