THE opposition Zapu party has taken a dig into the devolution concept being implemented by President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration, describing it as pointless because it gives too much power to central government.
BY SILAS NKALA
This comes after Mnangagwa launched the devolution and decentralisation policy document which is anchored on government’s Vision 2030.
Zapu policy and strategy secretary Sakhile Sibanda said the fact that the devolution implementation process was giving too much power to central government was a departure from the way the programme was being implemented by the late former President Robert Mugabe’s administration.
“This is a departure from the Mugabe administration which wanted a devolved governance system where the country disintegrates from a unitary State. It remains to be seen whether this administration’s words will translate to meaningful devolution of power which enables people to be involved in decision-making at local level,” Sibanda said.
“Zapu notes with concern that the enactment of the legal framework to establish the infrastructure for devolving political, administrative and fiscal autonomy to provincial and metropolitan councils has become peripheral to the government’s multi-faceted economic development policy.
“The President has recently appointed provincial development co-ordinators to assist the presidentially appointed ministers of state for Provincial Affairs and Devolution.
“Down the chain are district, ward, and village development co-ordinators. This is a strategy for entrenching accountability to the central government. The government has no appetite for the establishment of provincial and metropolitan councils,” she said.
Sibanda said the National Development Strategy One (NDS1) which was also recently launched would intensify the control structures of central government and thus quash implementation of devolution.
“Surprisingly, pronouncements by the Presidency, government ministers, and Zanu PF officials disseminate messages that devolution is already underway,” she said.
Zapu said government’s failure to effectively implement devolution would further alienate under-developed communities that are marginalised and feel excluded from governance processes.
“Therefore, it would be helpful for the government to have the structural design of the three tiers of government in place first rather than introduce a new system in a haphazard manner,” she said.
The Zapu official said there was need to stop government from retaining too much power as everything would be characterised by patronage where those that are politically connected would continue to enrich themselves through the country’s resources.