MPs out of pro­vin­cial coun­cils

The Sunday Mail (Zimbabwe) - - FRONT PAGE - Sun­day Mail Re­porters

LEG­IS­LA­TORS will not sit on pro­vin­cial and metropoli­tan coun­cils as part of the twin com­mit­ments of Pres­i­dent Em­mer­son Mnan­gagwa’s Gov­ern­ment to sep­a­ra­tion of powers and a de­vo­lu­tion model that brings mean­ing­ful devel­op­ment across the coun­try.

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.

In his weekly col­umn in The Sun­day Mail, Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa says his ad­min­is­tra­tion is fine-tun­ing laws to op­er­a­tionalise the coun­cils.

Pro­vin­cial and metropoli­tan coun­cils are pro­vided for in Sec­tion 268 (Chap­ter 14)

of the Con­sti­tu­tion, with the man­date to spear­head so­cial and eco­nomic devel­op­ment across the coun­try.

The Head of State and Gov­ern­ment says, “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.”

At present, the law says the eight (ru­ral) pro­vin­cial coun­cils will con­sist of sen­a­tors, two se­nate chiefs, mem­bers of the Na­tional As­sem­bly (in­clud­ing Women’s Quota) and may­ors from the prov­ince; and ten per­sons elected by pro­por­tional rep­re­sen­ta­tion.

The Pres­i­dent and Deputy Pres­i­dent of the Na­tional Coun­cil of Chiefs are mem­bers of the coun­cil in their home prov­inces.

For the Harare and Bu­l­awayo metropoli­tan coun­cils, the mem­ber­ship will in­clude the mayor (chair­per­son), and all mem­bers of the Na­tional As­sem­bly and Sen­a­tors from the prov­inces.

The Pres­i­dent says the coun­cils should not be un­gainly bu­reau­cra­cies, point­ing out that the $310 mil­lion al­lo­cated to de­vo­lu­tion in the 2019 Na­tional Bud­get is a game-changer in the con­text of Zim­babwe’s gov­er­nance ma­trix.

“The 2019 Bud­get, thus, marks a ma­jor shift in Gov­ern­ment’s man­age­ment of pub­lic af­fairs. I read Chap­ter 14 as en­join­ing prov­inces, dis­tricts and com­mu­ni­ties to be­come ac­tive, lead ac­tors in the cre­ation of na­tional wealth and jobs, us­ing re­sources and op­por­tu­ni­ties found within their en­vi­rons.

“That changes the devel­op­ment model to one where growth and devel­op­ment are ini­ti­ated and im­ple­mented by prov­inces, with cen­tral Gov­ern­ment play­ing fa­cil­i­ta­tor and ar­biter to the whole process.”

Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa says de­vo­lu­tion will end in­or­di­nately high de­pen­dence on cen­tral Gov­ern­ment, leav­ing prov­inces to com­pet­i­tively focus on growth.

“It is a de­par­ture from the hub-and-spokes model where ev­ery­thing starts and ends up with cen­tral Gov­ern­ment.

“The one cen­tral and cen­tralised hub gives way to sev­eral eco­nomic hubs, each of which is lo­cated within a prov­ince, and each of which de­rives im­pe­tus from re­sources found in that prov­ince.

“That way growth be­comes spa­tially spread, thus al­low­ing com­pet­i­tive part­ner­ships within one na­tional whole, and even devel­op­ment hap­pen­ing con­cur­rently across all re­gions and com­mu­ni­ties.

“Only then will eco­nomic growth and devel­op­ment en­hance na­tional unity and cohesion which our Con­sti­tu­tion en­vis­ages.”

The Sun­day Mail un­der­stands that de­vo­lu­tion could be mod­elled along China’s sys­tem, where prov­inces eco­nomic cen­tres that com­pute their own GDP data for com­pet­i­tive­ness pur­poses.

Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa has pre­vi­ously in­di­cated that prov­inces will be as­signed spe­cific eco­nomic re­spon­si­bil­i­ties.

For ex­am­ple, Harare Metropoli­tan will be Zim­babwe’s ICT nerve cen­tre, while Bu­l­awayo Metropoli­tan will be the in­dus­trial hub. Man­i­ca­land will be the di­a­mond ben­e­fi­ci­a­tion cen­tre, with Mid­lands the hub of the iron and steel value-chain.

Gov­ern­ment could give prov­inces the re­spon­si­bil­ity to craft pro­vin­cial eco­nomic devel­op­ment mas­ter plans that feed into the na­tional agenda.

The coun­cils will be re­quired to come up with Re­gional In­vest­ment and Devel­op­ment Mas­ter Plans, which de­rive from the Na­tional In­vest­ment and Devel­op­ment Mas­ter Plan.

In his in­au­gu­ra­tion speech af­ter the July 2018 Pres­i­den­tial elec­tions, 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.”

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