Govt moves to amend Con­sti­tu­tion

The Sunday Mail (Zimbabwe) - - FRONT PAGE - Lin­coln Towindo and Sharon Mun­jen­jema

THE Ninth Par­lia­ment of Zim­babwe of­fi­cially opens on Tues­day with sig­nif­i­cant changes to Chap­ter 14 of the Con­sti­tu­tion set to be in­tro­duced.

The amend­ments are de­signed to stream­line the struc­ture of Provin­cial and Metropoli­tan Coun­cils as part of the de­vo­lu­tion plan be­ing pur­sued by Pres­i­dent Em­mer­son Mnan­gagwa’s Gov­ern­ment.

Chap­ter 14 pro­vides for Na­tional Assem­bly rep­re­sen­ta­tives to sit in both Par­lia­ment and the coun­cils.

Par­lia­ment has over­sight over the coun­cils, which in essence means Chap­ter 14 of the Con­sti­tu­tion as cur­rently sub­sist­ing asks MPs to mon­i­tor them­selves in this re­gard.

Au­thor­i­ties are also wary of cre­at­ing new and bloated struc­ture that could fur­ther strain an al­ready over­stretched fis­cus.

Gov­ern­ment plans to in­tro­duce whole­sale changes to the na­tional gov­er­nance sys­tem by rolling out com­pre­hen­sive de­cen­tral­i­sa­tion and de­vo­lu­tion of power and au­thor­ity to prov­inces.

Au­thor­i­ties are craft­ing the Provin­cial and Metropoli­tan Coun­cils Bill, which will be tabled be­fore the Ninth Par­lia­ment.

Pri­mar­ily though, the Ninth Par­lia­ment will be seized with en­act­ing leg­is­la­tion that drives Zim­babwe’s devel­op­ment as­pi­ra­tions, par­tic­u­larly at­tract­ing in­vest­ment and im­prov­ing the ease of do­ing busi­ness.

Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa will of­fi­cially open the First Ses­sion of the Ninth Par­lia­ment on Tues­day, and pre­sent his first State of the Na­tion Ad­dress be­fore a joint sit­ting of the Na­tional Assem­bly and Se­nate. He will out­line the leg­isla­tive agenda un­der­pin­ning the Sec­ond Repub­lic.

Jus­tice, Le­gal and par­lia­men­tary Af­fairs Min­is­ter Mr Ziyambi Ziyambi told The Sun­day Mail that an amend­ment to the Con­sti­tu­tion was in­evitable.

He said: “The way (Provin­cial and Metropoli­tan Coun­cils) are struc­tured at the mo­ment, all the Hon­ourable MPs within the province sit in the Provin­cial Coun­cils with all the chiefs and Provin­cial Coun­cilors.

“You sit there in Par­lia­ment, you al­lo­cate a bud­get to the Provin­cial Coun­cil, you go back to the province and sit in the Provin­cial Coun­cil and de­ter­mine how the bud­get you al­lo­cated is used. Then you go back to Par­lia­ment and play an over­sight role to things that you have been do­ing.

“So, per­haps it is one area that I be­lieve the Min­is­ter of Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment will be able to tackle and bring it to us so we look at how we can amend the Con­sti­tu­tion and deal with that.

“It’s just not ap­pro­pri­ate ... These are some of the is­sues that need clean­ing up, for­get about the Provin­cial Ministers.”

He said a law was be­ing crafted to fa­cil­i­tate op­er­a­tions of Ministers of State in the de­volved gov­er­nance sys­tem.

He said du­ties of Ministers of State would be di­rectly linked to grow­ing the provin­cial econ­omy in line with the na­tional devel­op­ment plan.

“In fact Provin­cial Ministers are ac­tu­ally go­ing to en­hance the de­vo­lu­tion be­cause they will be key crit­i­cal play­ers in en­sur­ing that they help in the growth of the provin­cial GDPs,” said Min­is­ter Ziyambi.

“Their thrust now won’t be to do with po­lit­i­cal ac­tiv­i­ties but to look into the eco­nomic ac­tiv­i­ties of the province, par­tic­u­larly how to grow the econ­omy of the province.

“We are go­ing to come up with en­abling leg­is­la­tion that will give ef­fect to the Provin­cial Coun­cils. This leg­is­la­tion will spell out the in­ter­ac­tion and the work of Provin­cial Ministers of State will do to en­hance the de­vo­lu­tion agenda.

“De­vo­lu­tion is some form of de­cen­tral­i­sa­tion; we have de­cen­tral­i­sa­tion of govern­men­tal pow­ers al­ready. But we want to go a step fur­ther and have each province man­age its own af­fairs and the Provin­cial Min­is­ter will work to­wards en­sur­ing that the province grows its econ­omy. So there will be no in­ter­fer­ence at all.”

Speaker of the Na­tional Assem­bly Ad­vo­cate Ja­cob Mu­denda said Chap­ter 14 could amended to en­sure that gov­ern­ment at provin­cial level is “lean”.

“We also need to have a mi­cro­scopic anal­y­sis of Chap­ter 14 of our Con­sti­tu­tion re­gard­ing de­vo­lu­tion, which the Pres­i­dent has been very clear about, whereby he wants all prov­inces to con­trib­ute ef­fec­tively and in a pro­nounced man­ner to the gross do­mes­tic prod­uct by en­sur­ing that each province ex­ploits its re­sources whether un­der­ground or above the ground to en­sure that the provin­cial economies are lever­aged to en­hance ac­cel­er­ated eco­nomic devel­op­ment,” said Adv Mu­denda.

“Par­lia­ment, there­fore, will en­sure that Chap­ter 14 of the Con­sti­tu­tion is cleaned up to the ex­tent that the gov­er­nance at that level is lean but ef­fec­tive and that the Ministers of State are grounded on a le­gal frame­work that will give them clear au­thor­ity to link the eco­nomic ac­tiv­i­ties of each province with those of the na­tional eco­nomic pol­icy frame­work.

“To that ex­tent, Par­lia­ment must come up with a new Provin­cial and Metropoli­tan Coun­cils Act that will stream­line the de­vo­lu­tion frame­work as mat­ter of ur­gency.”

Sec­tion 264 of the Con­sti­tu­tion pro­vides for the de­vo­lu­tion of gov­ern­ment pow­ers and re­spon­si­bil­i­ties to, among other things, “recog­nise the right of com­mu­ni­ties to man­age their own af­fairs and to fur­ther their devel­op­ment”.

Sec­tion 268 pro­vides for the es­tab­lish­ment of Provoin­cial Coun­cils in the eight ru­ral prov­inces, con­sist­ing of sen­a­tors, two se­na­tor chiefs, Na­tional Assem­bly rep­re­sen­ta­tives (in­clud­ing the Women’s Quota), may­ors and ten per­sons elected via pro­por­tional rep­re­sen­ta­tion. The Pres­i­dent and Deputy Pres­i­dent of the Na­tional Chief’s Coun­cil are mem­bers of the coun­cil in their home prov­inces.

For the Metropoli­tan Coun­cils of Bu­l­awayo and Harare, the mem­ber­ship will in­clude the mayor (Chair) and MPs.

An Act of Par­lia­ment will es­tab­lish and op­er­a­tionalise the coun­cils.

Adv Mu­denda also said the Ninth Par­lia­ment would leg­isla­tively com­pli­ment Gov­ern­ment’s drive to ac­cel­er­ate eco­nomic devel­op­ment.

He said: “No devel­op­ment takes place with­out be­ing but­tressed by a ro­bust le­gal frame­work; you need laws that cre­ate a con­ducive en­vi­ron­ment for ac­cel­er­ated eco­nomic devel­op­ment.”

He said Zim­babwe’s tax and visa regimes and im­mi­gra­tion laws would be ex­pe­di­tiously re­viewed, and es­tab­lish­ment of a one-stop in­vest­ment cen­tre pri­ori­tised.

— Pic­ture: Tawanda Mudimu. (See story on Page 2)

Par­tic­i­pants at the Zim­babwe Staff Col­lege Cul­ture Day show­case the lo­cal tra­di­tional way of life at Josiah Magama Ton­gog­ara Bar­racks in Harare yes­ter­day.

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