Parly washes hands on devolution

THE Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Local Government has washed its hands off its failure to push to ensure there is devolution of power, saying the blame lies with the Executive.

By NQOBANI NDLOVU

The Constitution provides for devolution of power, but years after the country’s charter was passed into law, the nation is yet to enjoy the devolved system of governance.

Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Local Government chairperson Irene Zindi said the committee should not be blamed for failure to push for a Bill ensuring devolution of power is implemented.

“I think it is a process, and as Members of Parliament, we are not the ones who initiate the process of lawmaking,” Zindi said during the launch of the State of Service Delivery Report in Mutare, on Wednesday.

The report follows a baseline survey conducted between February and March this year by a “We Pay, You Deliver” consortium of civic society organisations.

Zindi was responding to a question on why her committee was failing to ensure devolution of power was implemented in line with the Constitution,

“It (process) is initiated by the Executive. If the Executive does not bring the Bill on devolution of power, there is nothing that we as a committee can do. We can only agitate for the Bill through the question and answer session in Parliament, but the final presentation lies with the Executive. There is little or nothing that we can do as MPs,” Zindi added.

Under Chapter 14, section 264(2) of the Constitution, provincial authorities are supposed to be given more powers by central government to run their affairs and other responsibilities.

Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa has, however, said the government did not have money to implement the devolution of power despite the State blowing millions on several other projects such as foreign travels.

Bulawayo mayor Martin Moyo has said the country stands to benefit a lot if devolution of power is implemented.


Moyo visited Kenya to study how the country implemented devolution and in his analysis after the visit said “my view is that we pay lip-service to devolution. We have not put in place structures to ensure devolution happens. We do not have legal instruments to devolve. We are not even thinking about it.

“There are some of us who believe devolution will be achieved by a mere realignment of the Acts, or that devolution is something that can happen within a particular ministry. Devolution cannot be given in portions like medicine. Devolution is a whole system of governance,” he said.

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