MPs, Se­na­tors out of pro­vin­cial coun­cils

Sunday News (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page -

THE con­cept of devo­lu­tion be­ing pur­sued by the Gov­ern­ment will en­sure that all 10 prov­inces in the coun­try be­come en­joined with their dis­tricts and com­mu­ni­ties be­com­ing ac­tive lead ac­tors in the cre­ation of na­tional wealth and jobs us­ing re­sources and op­por­tu­ni­ties found within their en­vi­rons, Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa has said.

The full im­ple­men­ta­tion of devo­lu­tion of power as en­shrined in Sec­tion 14 of the Con­sti­tu­tion of Zim­babwe, was one of the ma­jor prom­ises laid by the Pres­i­dent in the run up to the his­tor­i­cal 30 July har­monised elec­tions. Writ­ing in his weekly col­umn pub­lished in the Sun­day News and our sis­ter pa­per, The Sun­day Mail, Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa reaf­firmed his com­mit­ment to im­ple­ment­ing devo­lu­tion not­ing that this was a devel­op­ment model where growth and devel­op­ment were ini­ti­ated and im­ple­mented by prov­inces, with cen­tral Gov­ern­ment play­ing fa­cil­i­ta­tor and ar­biter to the whole process.

He added that leg­is­la­tors will not sit on pro­vin­cial and met­ro­pol­i­tan coun­cils. The ex­clu­sion of Se­na­tors and Na­tional Assem­bly rep­re­sen­ta­tives will also mean a leaner, ef­fi­cient struc­ture whose bud­gets are ex­pended more on gain­ful eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity than re­mu­ner­a­tion. Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa said his ad­min­is­tra­tion is fine-tun­ing laws to op­er­a­tionalise the coun­cils.

“Look­ing at what is pro­vided for un­der pro­vin­cial and met­ro­pol­i­tan coun­cils, one is struck by a glar­ing anom­aly. These coun­cils are con­sti­tu­tion­ally cre­ated to drive the lo­cal devel­op­ment agenda. Yet their con­sti­tu­tion and com­po­si­tion in­clude leg­is­la­tors (Se­na­tors and mem­bers of the Na­tional Assem­bly). Chap­ter 14 thus does not seem to dis­tin­guish be­tween leg­isla­tive roles and ex­ec­u­tive func­tions. By so do­ing, it of­fends against the doc­trine of sep­a­ra­tion of pow­ers. This area needs tidy­ing up, lest those run­ning those pro­posed coun­cils will end up ac­count­ing to them­selves.”

The Pres­i­dent said Zim­babwe was blessed in that it had abun­dant nat­u­ral re­sources which now had to be ex­ploited to the fullest through such devel­op­ment strate­gies as devo­lu­tion.

“Our min­er­als re­main in­ert stones or en­crus­ta­tions on rock un­til they are mined and pro­cessed into mar­ketable prod­ucts which the world de­mands. Four days ago, I com­mis­sioned a lithium project which is set to grow from the hills and rocks of Goromonzi, just out­side Harare. We have had these rocks and hills as part of fea­tures in and on our land from time im­memo­rial.

“Sim­i­lar de­posits are near Bu­l­awayo, in Hwange, Ka­ma­tivi and in Bikita. Un­til now, only de­posits in Bikita were be­ing ex­ploited. Yet if these de­posits are worked and pro­cessed, Zim­babwe im­me­di­ately be­comes the first on the con­ti­nent, and the eighth largest pro­ducer of lithium in the world. The min­eral is in such great de­mand glob­ally,” said Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa.

He said the 2019 Bud­get, as pre­sented by Fi­nance and Eco­nomic Devel­op­ment Min­is­ter, Pro­fes­sor Mthuli Ncube marked a new era in the coun­try where re­sources, as­sets and skills will now have to in­ter­act to trig­ger eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity start­ing at a lo­cal level — this be­ing the at­tribute of devo­lu­tion. A to­tal of $310 mil­lion was ear­marked for devo­lu­tion.

“Largely be­cause of our che­quered past, not all our prov­inces have at­tained the same level of devel­op­ment. There are dis­par­i­ties be­tween prov­inces, and dis­par­i­ties within prov­inces. Re­mark­ably, the 2019 Bud­get State­ment recog­nises such dis­par­i­ties and seeks to make amends. It sug­gests an in­terim fis­cal trans­fer frame­work which al­lo­cates . . . re­sources cog­nisant of so­cio-eco­nomic dis­par­i­ties across prov­inces and au­thor­i­ties.

“Gov­ern­ment will have to re-in­vent it­self, draw­ing from ex­pe­ri­ences of coun­tries like the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of China where prov­inces have been trans­formed into ma­jor eco­nomic pow­er­houses not just within China it­self, but glob­ally. My visit to the Prov­inces of An­hui and Zhe­jiang re­vealed what must be done, in­deed what we must learn and adapt to our own cir­cum­stances,” said the Pres­i­dent.

He said his ex­pec­ta­tions were that while cen­tral Gov­ern­ment was seized with build­ing key en­ablers, pro­vin­cial and met­ro­pol­i­tan au­thor­i­ties must start build­ing ca­pac­i­ties, in­clud­ing as­sem­bling skills needed for en­larged roles to come. Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa fur­ther noted that when the coun­try reaches a point where it can fully ex­ploit its re­sources from a lo­cal level this will en­sure the growth of the econ­omy, cre­ation of jobs for the youths and cause bal­anced and in­clu­sive devel­op­ment for the coun­try, in line with Vi­sion 2030.

“Clearly, the idea be­hind the pro­posed frame­work is to evenly build ca­pac­i­ties in and within prov­inces to trig­ger a si­mul­ta­ne­ous eco­nomic take-off for in­clu­sive growth and devel­op­ment.”

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