The Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of local Government, Public works and National Housing, Dr Vincent Hungwe, confirms the expiration of the governors' term of office. They had been extended by President Mugabe by three months in January.
However, Dr Hungwe, could not explain the authority of the sitting provencial governors, who appeared to be going about their normal duties despite the end of their term of office.
Mashonaland West governor Peter Chanetsa, Wednesday hosted visiting Mozambican government officials, the Namibian High Commissioner to Zimbabwe and local government officials on a tour of the bombed Zanu PF Chinhoyi offices and some newly resettled farms.
Matebeleland North governor, Obert Mpofu, refuses to answer questions on the matter. He says his term expired but he is still in the office. The governor for Manicaland, Oppah Muchinguri also confirms that her term of office expired, but is still going about her work as a governor.
Other governors refuse to comment on their continued employment, saying they could jeopardize their re-appointment. The presidential appointees also refuse to discuss their achievements during their tenure in office. Constitutional law expert, Dr. Lovemore Madhuku, says it’s illegal for the provincial governors to continue to work when their term of office have expired.
Mashonaland Central has been without a governor for two years. since Elliot Manyika was appointed Minister of Youth Development, Gender and Employment Creation following the death of Border Gezi.
Among those who have completed their two-year terms are David Karimanzira (Mashonaland East), Josaya Hungwe (Masvingo Province), Steven Nkomo (Matebeleland South), Oppah Muchinguri (Manicaland) and Cephas Msipa (Midlands).
The Constitution of Zimbabwe allows President Mugabe to appoint eight provincial governors, who automatically become non-constituency Members of Parliament. However, under the Provincial Councils Act, the President is allowed to appoint more than eight provincial governors.
Two more governors for Harare and Bulawayo are expected to be announced, following the creation of the two urban provinces despite protests by the cities' residents that the move was not only unnecessary, but had political connotations.
Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister, Dr Ignatius Chombo's announced early this year that nominees for the posts of governor for Harare and Bulawayo provinces would be invited no names have been officially announced so far.
The Opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has dismissed the creation of the posts of provincial governors for Harare and Bulawayo as a move was to frustrate the work of sitting executive mayors for the country's two major cities. Both mayors belong to MDC. Other critics say the appointment of governors is unnecessary and expensive.
But the government argues that the appointment of governors for Harare and Bulawayo will improve the nation's local governance system and will ensure that there is effective co-ordination of development nationally. As one cabinet minister recently said, “Every inch of Zimbabwe will be covered by the same system of local governance.”