BY VENERANDA LANGA
TRANSPARENCY International Zimbabwe (TI-Z) has called on government to expedite the implementation of devolution and promote decentralisation in order to strengthen transparency and accountability among local authorities.
In a position paper titled The Devolution Agenda in Zimbabwe from an Anti-Corruption perspective, TI-Z said devolution of power had the capacity to improve public service delivery.
“While devolution means different things to different countries, it is in essence a form of decentralisation in which the central government transfers government powers and responsibilities from the central to local government,” TI-Z said.
“Centralisation of power has often been associated with corrupt practices such as patronage and rent-seeking behaviour, and, therefore, hopes are high that decentralisation of power will improve public service delivery at the local level by strengthening transparency and accountability frameworks, where citizens have a voice in determining development in their localities,” it said. Zimbabwe and other African countries such as Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa and Uganda are at various stages of implementing devolution.
TI-Z said devolution was in line with section 13(2) of the Constitution which required that people should be involved in all policy-making processes.
It said devolution could only be successful if policy, legislative and institutional frameworks were infused with elements of transparency, accountability, integrity and financial probity in the way public resources are managed at central and lower levels of government.
TI-Z added:“The Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP) places emphasis on the need to reconstruct the State into a community-based and people-centred system of governance.
Therefore, expectations were that within the timeframe for the implementation of the TSP, the government would have fulfilled the administrative, political, fiscal and market dimensions of decentralisation.
“However, with only three months before the TSP comes to an end, the government has only managed to some extent, to fulfil the fiscal dimension of devolution which entails the equitable allocation of capital grants between provincial and metropolitan councils and local authorities; and any other allocations to provinces and local authorities.”
TI-Z said corruption in Zimbabwe had become a major hindrance to development, hence needed to be nipped in the bud.