BY SILAS NKALA
LEADER of opposition United Movement for Devolution (UMD) party, Lovemore Moyo, says Zanu PF is unwilling to implement devolution of power for fear it could deny its officials the opportunity to loot public resources.
Moyo, also former MDC national chairperson and ex-Speaker of Parliament, said the ruling party had for the same reason deliberately frustrated devolution efforts since coming to power at independence in 1980.
He made the remarks while responding to questions during a virtual discussion on devolution under the Nkayi Community Parliament on Sunday.
He was the guest speaker together with former Nkayi legislator Abednico Bhebhe and South Africa-based Nkayi businessman Maxwell Masina.
Moyo said devolution was the only system that was fair for provinces to equalise employment, business tender awards and economic development opportunities.
“That devolved system put a stop to this kind of unfair practices, where we would have various provinces having boards which give tenders to businesses at provincial level. Then there is a project generated at local level, say at Nkayi, a Nkayi Tender Board will offer an opportunity to businesses to submit tenders for particular projects,” Moyo said.
Moyo said the delay in the implementation of devolution was caused by Zanu PF fears.
“It is a threat to their hold on State institutions. It is a threat to their hold and monopoly over resources of other provinces and districts. It is a threat to dominance, be it in employment or deployment. It is also a threat to their political control over provinces and districts,” Moyo said.
“The reason is that this is a threat to their wealth because most of their wealth is derived from Matabeleland, so they want to continue dominating and looting resources of various provinces and districts, Matabeleland being targeted and looted,” he said.
“They are afraid that if devolution is implemented, how would they come to loot gold from Gwanda, Nkayi, Tsholotsho and Matopo? How would they come to loot Nkayi timber and lucrative hunting concessions that would now be under the control of the local authorities? It is not in their interest to implement devolution, so they will continue delaying it,” Moyo said.
Bhebhe said: “Zanu PF has always been against devolution and even in the writing of the new Constitution in 2013 it was very clear in their presentation that they were against devolution.”
“It is unfortunate that the same government that was against it in 2013 is still in power today.”
He said because the Constitution provided for the devolution of power, there was supposed to be an operationalisation law which gives guidance on how devolution should be implemented. “That law has not been enacted. As long as it has not been enacted, what President Emmerson Mnangagwa is doing now is delegating power to the sub-national tiers and that he then calls it devolution of power, it is not devolution, it is just delegation of power.”
He said if devolution is implemented, an Act of Parliament would stipulate how much revenue a province would control.
Bhebhe said the Zanu PF government had enjoyed centralised control of resources for 41 years and it would not be easy for them to relinquish power.
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