Government finally rolls out devolution

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By Staff Reporter

AFTER years of dithering under ex-President Robert Mugabe’s regime, government has finally moved to implement devolution of power by appointing members to provincial councils.

The move is a sign that President-elect Emmerson Mnangagwa was keen on charting a new path in the country’s governance system.

According the constitution, provincial and metropolitan councils are meant to give powers of local governance to the people and enhance their participation in the exercise of the powers of the State and in making decisions affecting them; as well as to promote democratic, effective, transparent, accountable and coherent government in the country.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) Thursday announced 10-member provincial councils for eight of the country`s provinces which were elected through proportional representation.

All the councils are dominated by Zanu PF members.

Mugabe dithered on implementing devolution of power as he maintained a tight grip on power.

Presenting the 2018 national budget, in December last year, Finance Minister Patrick Chinamsa urged parliament to scrap devolution saying it would come as a burden to the fiscus.

“Funding of the Provincial and Metropolitan structures, as set out in Chapter 14, Section 264 of the Constitution, is not sustainable and political parties represented in Parliament should in the future give consideration to amending the Constitution to lessen the burden on the fiscus,” Chinamasa said then.

However, during their election campaign trail, Zanu PF politicians promised the electorate that they will implement devolution.

“Part of the money generated by the provinces will be used to address local challenges in the city before it is taken to central government,” Vice President Constantino Chiwenga told party supporters in Kuwadzana, Harare, in the run to the elections.

“That is the development that we want. That is the devolution of power to the lowest level we are talking about.

“Each province will be competing to contribute to the Gross Domestic Product of the central Government while developing their provinces.”

After romping to victory in both the National Assembly and the country`s presidency, Zanu PF might also take advantage of their dominance in the provincial councils to strengthen their stranglehold on power.

However, the provincial councils might leave a dent on the state coffers considering that the current National Assembly is bloated.

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