The discourse on decentralisation theoretically supports central government supervision of local government. The exercise of such powers by the central government of Zimbabwe is mired in controversy. Mayors are often suspended and/or dismissed to safeguard so-called "public interests". In particular, those who are from the opposition political party, the Movement for Democratic Change, have been greatly affected in this regard. The supervisory interventions of the Zimbabwe African National Unity-Patriotic Front led national (central) government have raised questions about the very existence of local democracy and the parameters within which supervision should be implemented. The inadequacy of the laws regulating central supervision over local government and, in some cases, the blatant disregard of such laws by the supervising authority have left mayors vulnerable to arbitrary suspensions and/or dismissal. Such interventions have been motivated mainly by sinister political objectives rather than a genuine desire to improve local governance. A case study methodology focusing on the supervision of mayors in Zimbabwe since independence has been adopted.

Tinashe Carlton Chigwata
Researcher, Dullah Omar Institute for Constitutional Law, Governance and Human Rights, University of the Western Cape, Bellville, South Africa

Sylvester Marumahoko
Researcher, School of Postgraduate Studies, Research and Innovation, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa

Alois Madhekeni
Lecturer, Department of Political and Administrative Studies, University of Zimbabwe, Harare, Zimbabwe

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