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Devolution guaranteed in new constitution

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The draft constitution will provide for devolution of power after people mostly in Matabeleland and Midlands called for decentralisation during the outreach programme.

Constitution Select Committee (Copac) co-chairperson Douglas Mwonzora (MDC-T) revealed this on the sidelines of a recent function to launch a book by the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR).

ZLHR had called for the new charter to allow for devolution to address concerns from some provinces about uneven development.

There is a specific chapter in the current constitution-making process, principle number 10 is that of the devolution of power, Mwonzora said.

Right now, the question exercising the minds of the men and women in Copac is how the provincial governments will be constituted.

He said devolution was necessary to assist development in provinces like Matabeleland, which he said had been marginalised by the Zanu PF administration since independence.

In its book titled Zimbabwes Constitutional Drafts Comparison and Recommendations, ZLHR recommended that Copac should give thought to provisions which establish levels of legislative and executive authority at regional or local level.

Devolution of power allows for better management of localised issues, informed resource allocation and better spending in order to improve infrastructure and socio-economic development within regions, particularly those which have been historically marginalised, the lawyers said.

Copac co-chairpersons Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana (Zanu PF) and Edward Mkhosi (MDC) could not be drawn into commenting about provisions in the draft saying it was premature.

But Zapu, which has been at the forefront of calls for decentralisation of power, welcomed the development with spokesperson Methuseli Moyo saying: Devolution is democracy.

Each region must have its own mini-government to run its affairs and implement development programmes, he said.

This ensures equity and fairness in the distribution of national income. Right now, there is no formula of distributing national income and ministers make ad hoc and often biased decisions on projects.

The draft constitution will go to a referendum sometime this year.

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