By Pietr Ziegler

Former Harare Mayor Bernard Manyenyeni has warned Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) Councilors to handle their new freedom with care lest it be their downfall.

Recently a High Court ruling declared Section 314 of the Urban Councils Act, formerly used by the Minister to lead Councils, as invalid.

The judge said it is ultra vires sections of the Constitution.

However, the ruling is still subject to confirmation by Constitutional Court.

Commenting on the news Manyenyeni has however warned his fellow party members about the ruling.

“We might now have some semblance of real mandate, with authority, in Councils.

“I am hoping that our party leadership will, with urgency, communicate with council deployees about the import of this removal of interference.

“The game changing impact of this Court decision should be felt going forward,” he said.

“I will be among those to admit that the fear of the all-powerful Minister, over the years, was quite useful in curbing certain excesses and abuse by the elected and managers in Councils.

“The CCC deployees in Councils must not misuse these new-found Constitutional spaces in their functions,” added Manyenyeni.

The former Mayor added that the court ruling was however long overdue.

“This long over-due High Court ruling, should never have gone to Court if ZANU PF ever bothered to read the supreme law of the land.

“The days of ministerial orders are numbered.

The High Court Ruling

On 17 January Justice Priscilla Munangati-Manongwa, set aside section 314 (2) of the Urban Councils Act Cap 29:15.

It effectively allowed the Minister to have overbearing control on the affairs of local authorities.

The judgement follows an application by the combined Harare Residents Association, Borrowdale Residents and Ratepayers Association, Clever Rambanapasi, Ian Makone and Elvis Ruzani.

The four applicants were represented by lawyer Tendai Biti.

The landmark ruling comes at a time Moyo has been clashing with opposition dominated councils for allegedly usurping their powers and issuing often ruinous directives.

The multiple cases of friction between Moyo and the mainly CCC-led local authorities has led to accusations of state sabotage.

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