‘De­vo­lu­tion ad­vi­sory board needed’

Sunday News (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page -

A BU­L­AWAYO based think-tank, the Pub­lic Pol­icy Re­search In­sti­tute of Zimbabwe (PPRIZ) has praised the Govern­ment for set­ting the pace on de­vo­lu­tion, but quickly pointed out that there is a need to come up with an ad­vi­sory board that will over­see the process of de­vo­lu­tion and en­sure there is progress in the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the pol­icy.

In an in­ter­view, PPRIZ di­rec­tor Dr Gor­den Moyo said it was es­sen­tial that the process of de­vo­lu­tion be over­seen by an in­de­pen­dent body to en­sure trans­parency.

“We as PPRIZ pro­pose that the Govern­ment come up with a de­vo­lu­tion au­thor­ity at na­tional level re­spon­si­ble for train­ing of the new struc­tures, en­abling the de­vo­lu­tion struc­tures to sep­a­rate their man­date, cen­tral Govern­ment, pro­vin­cial Govern­ment man­date and the lo­cal au­thor­ity’s man­date.

“We be­lieve it’s im­por­tant. In Kenya they came up with the de­vo­lu­tion ad­vi­sory coun­cil which was re­spon­si­ble for com­ing up with poli­cies and pro­vide tech­ni­cal and pro­fes­sional ad­vice to the Govern­ment mak­ing sure there is no par­ti­san­ship in com­ing up with the struc­tures of de­vo­lu­tion and that is what is needed here in Zimbabwe,” said Dr Moyo.

He said the ad­vi­sory board should be com­posed of tech­nocrats and not peo­ple ap­pointed along po­lit­i­cal party lines.

“De­vo­lu­tion will not be an easy thing to im­ple­ment, we have seen it in Kenya. Peo­ple are re­sis­tant to change nat­u­rally and de­vo­lu­tion in­cludes that shift­ing of ge­ogra­phies of power from the cen­tre to the pe­riph­ery and this move is never easy. There is also a chal­lenge of re­sources as a new struc­ture will be born,” he said.

Dr Moyo, how­ever, said de­vo­lu­tion was a nec­es­sary process.

“We want to take the Govern­ment’s word as a pol­icy in­sti­tute; we do not want to doubt them. Our re­spon­si­bil­ity is to en­sure the right poli­cies are put in place, ad­vise the Govern­ment on them and also crit­i­cise them.

“For now we are wait­ing to see the in­sti­tu­tion­al­i­sa­tion of de­vo­lu­tion. For us the most im­por­tant is eco­nomic de­vo­lu­tion be­cause it is an ar­chi­tec­ture of Govern­ment that can help turn around the econ­omy,” he said.

Dr Moyo said lo­cal democ­racy was vi­tal and in­stead of poli­cies be­ing churned down from the cen­tre to the pe­riph­eries, peo­ple be­gin to make de­ci­sions at lo­cal level whether they are on de­vel­op­ment, econ­omy, cul­ture or sports.

“The other stage was on lo­cal economies where lo­cal au­thor­i­ties must de­ter­mine their eco­nomic ac­tiv­i­ties and Govern­ment to sup­port that. Lo­cal de­vel­op­ment is then mov­ing in to in­fras­truc­tural de­vel­op­ment at the level of prov­inces,” he said.

Dr Moyo also said de­spite the amend­ments hav­ing not been done yet to ac­com­mo­date de­vo­lu­tion of power in the Con­sti­tu­tion, there were some emerg­ing points.

“Mem­bers of Par­lia­ment who have been elected to sit at na­tional level must not sit at the de­vo­lu­tion struc­tures. We sup­port that at PPRIZ as it is a good idea. Me­dia re­ports also say the pro­vin­cial min­is­ters will be in­cor­po­rated in the pro­vin­cial coun­cils which is okay be­cause these min­is­ters should be ac­count­able to a lo­cal or pro­vin­cial board in­stead of the pro­vin­cial min­is­ters be­ing a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the rul­ing party in the prov­ince, they must be rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the peo­ple at na­tional level they must get their man­dates from the pro­vin­cial coun­cils.”

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