Devolution: Senators urge scrapping of provincial ministers’ posts

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By Staff Reporter

ZIMBABWEAN senators have called for the abolishment of Provincial Affairs Ministers’ posts which they say stood in the way of the successful roll out of devolution in the country.

Moving for the adoption of a motion on the implementation of devolution in the upper house recently, MDC Senator Douglas Mwonzora called on government to “provide for the key administrative and other processes in the Provincial Councils including the election for the heads of those Councils within two months.”

He added, “Abolish the post of Minister of State for Provincial Affairs as they compromise the full implementation of devolution of power;

“Swear into office all the members of the Provincial Councils immediately and define their conditions of service and other mechanisms to make them more functionally efficient;

“Provide budgetary support to the Provincial Councils.”

Devolution remains an emotive issue in the country where central government has been accused of short-changing better resourced regions of their riches in terms of development.

Provincial ministers remain symbols of central government, hence the demands by senators to have their role abolished during implementation of devolution.

In moving the motion, Mwonzora said government should take into account that Zimbabweans in the constitutional referendum in 2013 “unequivocally endorsed the principle of devolution of power and the transformation of the Zimbabwean State from a two tier to a three tier state”.

He said devolution was a fundamental constitutional principle of the people’s sovereignty and was also widely regarded by Zimbabweans as the answer to uneven regional development in the country.

In his 2019 budget he presented late last year, Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube allocated US$310 million to facilitate the devolution of power to provincial councils following an outcry from marginalised communities.

Government has also approved the Principles of the Provincial Councils and Administration Amendment Bill, which spells out the mechanisms of decentralisation and devolution.

Provincial governments will be allocated 5% of government revenue for the development of local authorities.