OPPOSITION leader Nelson Chamisa says MDC councillors running several municipalities across the country are not to blame for poor service delivery as they do not have total control of the local authorities.
Speaking at the Bulawayo Press Club recently, Chamisa said local authorities were at the mercy of the government.
He said the councillors had responsibilities without authority, adding the centralisation of power in the Local Government ministry was stifling them from delivering quality service.
“The biggest challenge we have had in cities is that we are in charge of the cities, but do not control the cities. In most cases, Zanu PF is controlling the cities through bureaucracy.
“They are controlling the cities through the Local Government ministry that issues directives from time to time. They are controlling the cities through legislation,” Chamisa said.
The opposition leader called for the decentralisation of municipal affairs and full implementation of devolution.
“Are you are aware that procurement in local authorities is done by the Office of the President and Cabinet? Where is transparency in this? Where is devolution?” he asked rhetorically.
“You cannot even budget as a local authority on your own. Your budget has to be approved by the minister of Local Government, again a contradiction in terms of devolution and constitutional ideals.
“Local authorities do not even have borrowing powers for capital projects. Local authorities cannot borrow. They have to seek permission from the minister of Local Government and central government.
“They cannot fire their own people. They have to be authorised by the government local body which is under the minister. So, local authorities are shackled and manacled by the acerbic and toxic politics of Zanu PF.
“Our local authorities are in a quandary; they can’t just perform. We want them to do their best, but they can’t just perform because of the circumstances that they are in,” he added.