By Darlington Gatsi
HARARE City Council Mayor Jacob Mafume has threatened legal action over the slow disbursement of devolution funds to the local authority, saying the development is hampering service delivery in the capital.
This comes on the backdrop of government’s failure to meet the threshold of the allocated ZW$2,335 billion in disbursing the funds.
Speaking after the presentation of the US$347 million 2023 city council budget, Mafume said several attempts to acquire the devolutions funds from the government have been fruitless.
“There are steps that we will take. The funds meant for devolution are being abused. We are worried by the manner in which the devolution funds are being abused.
“The money is supposed to be coming to the councils. We have written to the ministry requesting the devolution money as per the requirement of the constitution. We will take several measures to take them to court,” said Jacob Mafume.
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According to the constitution, the Government is mandated to distribute not less than five percent of the national revenue to the local authorities.
Opposition, which runs most local authorities in the country, has accused the government of politicising the devolution system.
Harare Residents Trust (HRT) director, Precious Shumba, said while the Council may take the legal route, it should also leverage on other revenue streams.
“The HRT expects Councillor Mafume as the mayor of Harare to fully grasp the politics behind the delayed implementation of devolution and demonstrate that his council will not engage in unfruitful lawsuits that only increase the political tensions and hardening of positions at the expense of service delivery.
“It is important that Councillor Mafume invests more of his time in sweating the available council resources and be more innovative in addressing the huge funding gap by leveraging on their council assets, represented in strategic business units.”