Rights activists call on govt to fund devolution

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HUMAN rights activists in Matabeleland have rekindled their campaign for devolution of power and are demanding that Treasury sets aside funding for implementation of the programme in its 2017 budget.

BY NQOBANI NDLOVU

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The call was made by Bennedict Sibasa, secretary-general of Matabeleland Institute for Human Rights, at a budget consultative meeting in Bulawayo yesterday.

“Through this statement, we wish to urge the government and the Finance and Economic Development ministry to prioritise funding for the formulation and enactment of the Devolution of Power Bill in line with Chapter 14 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe and specifically section 265(3) of the Constitution,” he said.

The Constitution provides for the establishment of provincial and metropolitan councils for the advancement of decentralisation of government’s powers and responsibilities.

Under section 264(2) of the Constitution, the provincial authorities are supposed to be given powers by central government to run their affairs and administer their own resources.

But, since adoption of the Constitution in 2013, the government has failed to implement the principle citing a cash squeeze.

Sibasa said the government must also fund the decentralisation of some of its services, like the Registrar-General’s Offices, to enable communities in remote areas to easily access travel and identification documents.

The rights groups are also demanding an additional secondary teacher training college in Matabeleland South province and a primary teacher training college for Matabeleland North.