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Mat’land forum firm on devolution

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THE Matabeleland Civil Society Forum (MCSF) says it remains adamant that the devolution of power provided for in the Copac draft constitution is not enough and will use the Second All-Stakeholders’ Conference to push for its improvement.

Report by Khanyile Mlotshwa  , Staff Reporter

MCSF is a network of over 40 civic groups in Matabeleland region.
Forum spokesperson Dumisani Nkomo told NewsDay that they have produced a position paper on the draft constitution for tabling at the Second All-Stakeholder’s conference in Harare between October 21-23.

“The grouping has conducted various meetings and a consultative conference on the draft constitution from which it has developed a short position paper,” Nkomo said.

“While marginal gains and improvements have been made in the new draft constitution, the MCSF would like to note that in the absence of key provisions around the issue of devolution of power the constitution would be unacceptable.”

Nkomo added: “Principally the forum would like to reiterate that provincial governors should be elected directly by voters in each particular province. Governors are not the representatives of the president, whoever the sitting president may be, but rather they are and should be representatives of the people.”

He said there should be “clear, defined devolution of power to provincial government, local government with distinct tiers of governance at each level not replicated or duplicated representation as is the case in the draft.”

“For example the Kenyan constitution provides for distribution of functions between national and county governments. If you look at schedule 4 of the Kenyan constitution, while some argue that Zimbabwe is too small to have provincial governments Kenya has 47 county governments,” he said.

“Provincial governments should through the provincial assemblies be able to formulate legislation and policies for the good governance of the provinces especially in areas relating to resource allocation, local benefit and beneficiation from local resources”.

Nkomo’s warning

NKOMO also warned: “Any political party or principal that any hijacking of the Copac process to facilitate quick fix elections would be both unacceptable and suicidal.”

“MCSF urges the three political parties seized with the constitution-making process to adhere to the letter and spirit of Article 6 of the Global Political Agreement (GPA. We will not just watch and see politicians take us for granted forever.”

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