Councillors get half MPs sitting allowances
Patrick Chitumba, Midlands Bureau Chief
COUNCILLORS in rural and urban councils are now receiving an equivalent of 50 percent of sitting allowances paid to Members of Parliament as Government implements the devolution agenda.
In an interview, the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, July Moyo confirmed the development.
“There is a circular to that effect. It’s a policy matter and the secretary can shed more light,” he said.
Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Permanent secretary Zvinechimwe Churu was not immediately available.
However, Urban Council Association of Zimbabwe (UCAZ) president Clr Josiah Makombe, who is also the Mayor of Gweru, commended Government for the development.
“I’m happy to note that we negotiated with Government as local authority councillors and are now getting half of sitting allowances which Members of Parliament get. This is in the spirit of the devolution agenda and we are very grateful to the Government for the gesture,” said Clr Makombe.
“There is now a formula with regards to our remuneration which is a positive on the part of the Government which is advocating for devolution. Councillors just as Provincial councillors ought to be remunerated well so that the Government programme forges ahead.
‘Previously we kind of served at the benevolence of the responsible Minister of Local Government who dictated what we were getting. But now, even if this UCAZ leadership or the current crop of councillors are to go, the new crop will just be paid according to this new formula we reached with the Government. So, it is a plus, a win-win situation for all the players involved.”
Zimbabwe’s devolution programme is largely founded on the principle of empowering provincial councils to spearhead economic and social development projects in their areas by leveraging on local resources.
The emphasis is on economic development and not political power, which remains in the hands of central government under the country’s unitary state structure.
Devolution was adopted as a key component of the new Constitution of Zimbabwe in 2013 and is recognised as one of the Founding Values and Principles to the Constitution.
The provincial tier of Government is constituted by eight provincial councils and two metropolitan councils namely, Bulawayo and Harare.