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Govt must be serious about devolution

13 Oct 2021 at 05:13hrs | Views
DEVOLUTION means transferring power and authority from central government to lower tiers of government, especially local authorities and provincial councils.

The government, despite having said it is implementing devolution, is unwilling to transfer administrative and fiscal powers to local authorities. The Ministers of State for Provincial Affairs are in place, but that is not enough. The provincial development co-ordinators are in office to co-ordinate government ministries at the provincial and metropolitan council levels. The Constitution envisages the establishment of provincial and metropolitan councils with the provincial council chairpersons likely to assume the powers that are being exercised by the Provincial Affairs ministers.

Ideally, under a devolved system, the provincial and metropolitan councils should have overall control of provincial or metropolitan affairs.

There is likely going to be power struggles between the provincial councils and the Ministers of State for Provincial Affairs, as well as the provincial development co-ordinators.

If devolution is properly implemented the idea is for the central government not to have parallel structures at the provincial and local authority levels of government.

Having Ministers of State for Provincial Affairs and a provincial development co-ordination is an indication that the government wants to maintain a tight grip on the governance of provinces.

Devolution, if genuinely implemented provides the government with an opportunity to refine itself and improve on social accountability and citizen participation.

There is currently no Act of Parliament to guide the implementation of devolution in Zimbabwe.

The government has produced a National Decentralisation and Devolution Policy based on Chapter 14 of the Constitution.

Source - NewsDay Zimbabwe
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