Govern­ment fi­nalises de­tails for de­vo­lu­tion

... as lo­cal au­thor­i­ties’ plan pans out

The Sunday Mail (Zimbabwe) - - FRONT PAGE - Lin­coln Towindo Se­nior Re­porter ◆ To Page 7

GOVERN­MENT plans to in­tro­duce whole­sale changes to the na­tional gover­nance ar­chi­tec­ture by com­pre­hen­sively de­cen­tral­is­ing and de­volv­ing power and author­ity - in­clud­ing fis­cal, in­vest­ment and eco­nomic re­spon­si­bil­i­ties to each of the coun­try’s 10 prov­inces.

Govern­ment tech­nocrats are un­der­stood to be seized with draft­ing the gran­u­lar de­tails of the master plan and iden­ti­fy­ing the leg­isla­tive ad­just­ments needed to pave way for ad­min­is­tra­tive im­ple­men­ta­tion.

The Sun­day Mail has es­tab­lished that a rudi­men­tary frame­work of the en­vis­aged struc­ture has been agreed on and ex­perts are work­ing on the pol­icy and le­gal frame­work.

Pres­i­dent Em­mer­son Mnan­gagwa, who promised to de­volve power dur­ing the 2018 cam­paign trail, in­tends to ful­fil the pledge in the short­est pos­si­ble time, while main­tain­ing Zim­babwe as a uni­tary State as stated in the Con­sti­tu­tion.

Last week, Chief Sec­re­tary in the Of­fice of the Pres­i­dent and Cab­i­net Dr Misheck Sibanda said de­vo­lu­tion was “in its pre­lim­i­nary stages and on­go­ing”. “His Ex­cel­lency, the Pres­i­dent, Cde E. D.

Mnan­gagwa, has taken a de­ci­sion to de­cen­tralise so­cio-eco­nomic growth and de­vel­op­ment to the coun­try’s prov­inces, the ini­tia­tive is in its pre­lim­i­nary stages and on­go­ing.

“Once the nec­es­sary con­sul­ta­tive pro­cesses have been fi­nalised, the ini­tia­tive will be elu­ci­dated fur­ther at the ap­pro­pri­ate lev­els and time,” said Dr Sibanda in writ­ten re­sponses to The Sun­day Mail.

It has been gath­ered that the planned de­vo­lu­tion will be sim­i­larly mod­elled to China’s prov­inces, which are eco­nomic cen­tres that com­pute their own GDP data for com­pet­i­tive­ness pur­poses.

Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa has pre­vi­ously in­di­cated that in­di­vid­ual prov­inces will be as­signed spe­cific eco­nomic re­spon­si­bil­i­ties in or­der to in­di­vid­u­ally con­trib­ute to na­tional eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment.

Harare Metropoli­tan will be Zim­babwe’s ICT nerve cen­tre, while Bu­l­awayo Metropoli­tan will be the coun­try’s in­dus­trial hub.

Man­i­ca­land prov­ince will be the di­a­mond ben­e­fi­ci­a­tion cen­tre, with Mid­lands the iron and steel value-chain ben­e­fi­ci­a­tion cen­tre.

Un­der the pre­ferred model, de­cen­tral­i­sa­tion and de­vo­lu­tion will be pred­i­cated on ad­min­is­tra­tive, po­lit­i­cal, mar­ket and fis­cal pil­lars.

Govern­ment is pre­pared to cede sig­nif­i­cant ad­min­is­tra­tive, po­lit­i­cal, mar­ket and fis­cal power to prov­inces.

Over­all, Govern­ment will not only de­cen­tralise power, but also give re­spon­si­bil­i­ties to prov­inces to craft pro­vin­cial eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment master plans that feed into the na­tional agenda.

Pro­vin­cial and metropoli­tan coun­cils will be re­quired to draft and adopt Re­gional In­vest­ment and De­vel­op­ment Master Plans, which de­rive from the Na­tional In­vest­ment and De­vel­op­ment Master Plan.

Govern­ment is con­sid­er­ing how the na­tional bud­get will feed into RIDMPs.

Fur­ther, de­cen­tral­i­sa­tion and de­vo­lu­tion is ex­pected to ad­dress per­ceived marginal­i­sa­tion in some ar­eas.

The new po­lit­i­cal struc­ture is ex­pected to bring Govern­ment closer to com­mu­ni­ties by mak­ing it more ac­ces­si­ble, re­spon­sive and ac­count­able.

It is also ex­pected to en­hance par­tic­i­pa­tory gover­nance for lo­cal de­vel­op­ment while lo­cal­is­ing re­source ex­ploita­tion and spend­ing for lo­cal economies.

Sec­tion 264 of the Con­sti­tu­tion pro­vides for the de­vo­lu­tion of Govern­ment pow­ers and re­spon­si­bil­i­ties THE Lo­cal Govern­ment, Pub­lic Works and Na­tional Hous­ing Min­istry has started work­ing on a le­gal frame­work and at­ten­dant reg­u­la­tions for seam­less de­vo­lu­tion of power from cen­tral Govern­ment to lo­cal au­thor­i­ties.

This en­tails align­ing laws such as the Pro­vin­cial Coun­cils and Ad­min­is­tra­tion Act to the Con­sti­tu­tion.

Dis­cus­sions are un­der­way on how to bal­ance min­is­te­rial author­ity and de­volved power.

Di­rec­tor of ur­ban au­thor­i­ties in the Lo­cal Govern­ment Min­istry, Ms Erica Jones, said: “We have started work­ing on the is­sue and we had a meet­ing with the out­go­ing min­is­ter (July Moyo) last week.

“We are now work­ing on align­ing some of the le­gal is­sues to the Con­sti­tu­tion – Acts such as the Pro­vin­cial Coun­cils and Ad­min­is­tra­tion Act, as well as the pow­ers of ru­ral and ur­ban au­thor­i­ties.

“We are also work­ing on how the min­is­ter will not in­ter­fere with (the) pro­vin­cial metropoli­tan min­is­ter. We are also work­ing on how the five per­cent bud­get will be shared amongst the pro­vin­cial coun­cils, how this will af­fect de­cen­tral­i­sa­tion and de­con­ges­tion.

“We are also work­ing on the role of cen­tral Govern­ment. We are also work­ing on how dif­fer­en­ti­ate be­tween pro­vin­cial Govern­ment worker with a coun­cil worker. Those are some of the is­sues that we are seized with at the mo­ment. It is a huge task, but we (have) started work­ing on it.”

De­vo­lu­tion is ex­pected to help achieve fair and bal­anced de­vel­op­ment through pro­vin­cial coun­cils, which are al­lowed by the Con­sti­tu­tion to set lo­cal de­vel­op­ment pri­or­i­ties.

Pres­i­dent Em­mer­son Mnan­gagwa has pledged to put eco­nomics ahead of pol­i­tics in the Sec­ond to, among other things, “recog­nise the right of com­mu­ni­ties to man­age their own af­fairs and to fur­ther their de­vel­op­ment”.

Also, Sec­tion 268 pro­vides for es­tab­lish­ment of pro­vin­cial coun­cils – con­sist­ing of sen­a­tors, two se­nate chiefs, mem­bers of the Na­tional Assem­bly (in­clud­ing Women’s Quota) from the prov­ince, may­ors and ten per­sons elected by pro­por­tional rep­re­sen­ta­tion – in the coun­try’s eight ru­ral prov­inces.

The Pres­i­dent and Deputy Pres­i­dent of the Repub­lic.

Each prov­ince is ex­pected to have its own eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment plans that are un­der­pinned by re­sources found within its boundaries.

Eco­nomic plans will be crafted by pro­vin­cial coun­cils, led by pro­vin­cial min­is­ters, whose role will be to spear­head eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment.

In his in­au­gu­ra­tion speech last Sun­day, Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa said: “As per our pledge dur­ing the cam­paign trail, my Govern­ment will be im­ple­ment­ing the con­sti­tu­tional pro­vi­sions with re­gards the de­vo­lu­tion of Govern­ment pow­ers and re­spon­si­bil­i­ties. Prov­inces will now be ex­pected to plan and grow their pro­vin­cial economies.

“Eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment at ev­ery level is the ul­ti­mate goal. I, there­fore, chal­lenge lo­cal au­thor­i­ties in the Sec­ond Repub­lic to be en­gines of lo­cal eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment and growth. My Govern­ment will not stand by and watch peo­ple suf­fer due to dere­lic­tion of duty, cor­rup­tion or in­com­pe­tence within our lo­cal au­thor­i­ties.”

Ur­ban and ru­ral plan­ning ex­pert Mr Nyasha Mutsinikwa said de­vo­lu­tion would fos­ter de­vel­op­ment as it would cater for spe­cific needs for res­i­dents.

“De­vo­lu­tion has been on the cards for a long time; thus, talk­ing about and tak­ing steps to im­ple­ment it is a pos­i­tive move.

“Lo­cal au­thor­i­ties are bound to fos­ter de­vel­op­ment and speak di­rectly to the needs of res­i­dents as they would be tak­ing the lead in solv­ing their prob­lems and com­ing up with solutions,” he said.

African coun­tries that have em­braced de­vo­lu­tion in­clude Uganda, Nige­ria and Kenya.

In South Africa, the de­volved sys­tem of gover­nance has seen prov­inces fund­ing 85 per­cent of their bud­getary needs. Na­tional Coun­cil of Chiefs are mem­bers of the coun­cil, par­tic­u­larly where their ar­eas fall within the prov­ince con­cerned.

For Harare and Bu­l­awayo metropoli­tan coun­cils, the mem­ber­ship will in­clude the mayor, who will chair the Metropoli­tan Coun­cil, all mem­bers of the Na­tional Assem­bly and Sen­a­tors.

The Con­sti­tu­tion re­quires Govern­ment to en­act an Act of Par­lia­ment to es­tab­lish and op­er­a­tionalise the coun­cils.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Zimbabwe

© PressReader. All rights reserved.