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Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles
still a pipe dream
Mandla Tshuma, The Financial Gazette
October 31, 2013
Zanu-PF romped to power, the promised devolution which partially
found expression in the new charter is yet to be seen.
The hope by some Zimbabweans
that at long last decision-making would be de-centralised to the
provinces remains a pipedream.
except Harare, the capital city, had held out hope that devolution,
as expressed in Section 264 of the new Constitution
would have become a reality by now.
The section was meant
to give more powers to the provincial authorities to enhance the
participation of their people in their governance.
According to the new
Constitution, devolution seeks to recognise the right of communities
to manage their own affairs and to further their own development.
The new Constitution
created eight provincial councils with 10 councillors each, elected
through proportional representation.
There are also two metropolitan
provincial councils - Harare and Bulawayo - that will spearhead
development in these respective cities.
Mayors of Harare and
Bulawayo will chair the Harare and Bulawayo metropolitan provinces
But three months
after the July 31st polls, which ushered in a new political leadership
for the country, provincial councils, a creation of the new Constitution,
are yet to sit.
In fact, it is unclear when they will sit in the absence of the
The provincial councils
were established to accommodate growing calls from Zimbabweans for
a devolved state since the 2000 constitutional review exercise.
A watered down version
of devolution was finally incorporated into the supreme law, but
the financing and enactment of an enabling law was left to the first
Parliament elected under the new Constitution.
During the constitution-making
process, President Robert Mugabe’s party, Zanu-PF, had opposed
devolution, saying it was divisive.
And when he
officially opened the first session of the eighth Parliament
of Zimbabwe, the Zanu-PF leader was mum on the Provincial Councils
Bill, which is supposed to give effect to devolution.
The august House would
during the first session deal with over 20 Bills that exclude the
one on the implementation of devolution, notwithstanding it is enshrined
in the new Constitution.
has gone on to appoint 10 State ministers responsible for provincial
affairs whose roles may usurp the powers intended for provincial
chairpersons when elected.
Ironically, the provincial ministers who somewhat have replaced
provincial governors abolished under the new supreme law to pave
way for devolution, are already in office while the future of provincial
chairpersons remains in limbo.
from the Ministries of Local Government and Justice, Legal and Parliamentary
Affairs, Killian Mupingo and Virginia Mabhiza, have both acknowledged
that the realisation of devolution would not be an overnight event.
Mupingo said Parliament
needed to first pass the Provincial Councils Bill, which is still
being drafted before the operationalisation of provincial councils.
working on the draft legislative framework for the provincial councils
and the timing of their tabling and passing will depend on the interrogation
of the Bill in the house,” he said.
To date, no allowances have been extended to the 80 provincial council
members in the eight provinces excluding the metropolitan provinces.
Their allowances and remuneration are subject to the matters to
be addressed in the bill.
Mabhiza concurred, saying
the eighth Parliament should first pass an enabling Act for provincial
“The last Parliament
unfortunately expired before it debated the harmonised Local Government
Bill,” he said.
current local governance is administered through two Acts - the
Act and the Rural District Councils Act but both do not speak
to the new provincial councils.
There is no clarity again on how the sittings of provincial councils
would be synchronised with the National Assembly and Senate.
National Assembly members
and senators are also members of provincial councils in their respective
The Provincial Councils
Bill is, among other things, expected to specify where and when
the provincial councils would sit and how their administrative staff
would be recruited.
Political analyst, Dumisani
Nkomo, said with Zanu-PF appearing not to be in a hurry to put in
place an enabling legislation for the provincial councils it would
take time before Zimbabweans benefit from devolution of power.
civic society, we are trying to engage Parliament so it can put
across devolution agenda,” said Nkomo who is also the chief
executive officer for Habakkuk
is not just for Matabeleland; it is for the whole country; it is
about service delivery. It is the ordinary people that are losing
out as the process continues to drag,” he added.
Godwin Phiri, a political
commentator, said it was worrisome that President Mugabe did not
mention the provincial councils bills when he spelt out the legislative
agenda for the first session of the new Parliament last month.
“However, we also
need to accept that this is a new concept in Zimbabwe. Enacting
a Bill and passing it into law might take some time,” said
must, however, continue putting pressure on government to fulfill
that constitutional provision and adjust to the new dispensation.”
Agenda executive director, Thabani Nyoni, said Zanu-PF was shooting
itself in the foot by delaying the implementation of devolution.
“Everyone is the
biggest loser in this delay including Zanu-PF because it is now
their time to deliver,” said Nyoni.
He said the delay was
an attack on the country’s democracy, which the civic society
would not just watch without taking action.
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