SMALL and medium enterprises (SMEs) and residents of Chiredzi are at crossroads with the town council over by-laws they claimed were smuggled through the back-door, without proper consultation with stakeholders.
BY GARIKAI MAFIRAKUREVA
According to a correspondence to stakeholders dated June 20, 2017 the proposed by-laws covered traffic, solid waste management, hawkers and street vendors, anti-litter, environmental and natural resources, as well as prepaid parking discs. The by-laws were approved in 2018.
Council is accused of smuggling in other by-laws that were not discussed during consultations and failing to implement some of the suggested by-laws.
Key among the alleged smuggled by-laws are those to do with the control of dogs and livestock. It only emerged that the council had such by-laws after cattle herders besieged Chiredzi Town Centre in search of pastures, much to the surprise of stakeholders and residents, who were always trying to engage council to craft such by-laws.
Cattle from nearby farms are seen on every corner of the town, including the central business district interfering with traffic, destroying lawns, flowers and vegetable gardens much to the chagrin of residents. The town is now an eyesore, littered with dung.
United Chiredzi Residents and Ratepayers Association (Uchirra) advocacy officer, Bernard Dachi said by-laws are crafted by council and stakeholders in terms of section 228 of the Urban Council Act Chapter 29:15.
“Consultations should be done with stakeholders and residents. The process has to be followed because they will affect residents when they are being implemented.
“All this lawlessness is caused by failure to consult. No one knew they had such by-laws until we had a crisis.
They consulted on pre-paid parking and other by-laws only and Nicodimously brought in by-laws that were not consulted on, making the (Local Government) minister assume consultations were made,” Dachi said.
Cader Thager of the SMEs said council was afraid to implement the by-laws which were gathering dust in their offices because they knew they never consulted stakeholders.
“They consulted people in 2017, but did not reflect all the areas they wanted to be covered by those by-laws. The major by-law that was consulted on was that for traffic, which allowed the charging for parking in town. Most of the issues were not consulted on and I do not know where they got their fine ratings from,” Thager said.
Chiredzi council chairperson Gibson Hwende was at pains to explain how the by-laws came into being, why they are not being implemented and why stakeholders and residents were not notified of such by-laws.
“The proposed by-laws were flighted in a local newspaper, but I cannot remember which one. I will have to check. That was part of consultation. We are not able to implement them because of budgetary constraints. We cannot afford to keep the cattle in feeding lots because of that,” Hwende said.
Local Government minister July Moyo said he was not aware of the issues raised, but promised to look into the matter.