BY STEPHEN CHADENGA
LOCAL Government deputy minister Jennifer Mhlanga says the Midlands State University (MSU) will soon establish an institute to enhance research around devolution as part of government efforts to spearhead the decentralisation agenda.
Addressing delegates at a local authorities leaders capacitation workshop in Gweru early this week, Mhlanga said government was committed to ensuring that development was decentralised and taken to the local level.
“On the part of the Midlands State University, we are excited that the university is in the process of establishing a centre for devolved governance in support of government’s devolution agenda,” Mhlanga said.
“It is our expectation that this institute will go a long way towards enhancing policy research and capacity development not only in terms of devolution, but also across the whole spectrum of development planning in the country.”
She said the implementation of devolution was a top priority for President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government.
Mhlanga said provincial and metropolitan councils will soon be operational in order to spur local and social development.
“On the other hand, provincial and metropolitan councils, which are the second-tier of government, will soon be operational in compliance with Chapter 14 of the Constitution and will complete the establishment of the governance system in the country,” she
“Chairpersons and mayors of local authorities, in terms of section 268 (a) and 269 (b) of the Constitution, are members of provincial and metropolitan councils and as such, we expect them to be the voices of local and social development.”
She revealed that government expected to disburse more funds to local authorities in the immediate term.
Mhlanga also said government appreciated the part played by the Swedish embassy in supporting and strengthening the capacitation of leaders in local authorities.
She hailed Gender Links Zimbabwe for partnering local governments by supporting gender mainstreaming through the centres of excellence programme. The programme has since taken on board all the 92 local authorities in the country.
The three-day workshop was held through the support of the Swedish Embassy and Gender Links, with the MSU providing technical support.