LEGAL experts and opposition parties have reacted angrily to President Robert Mugabe’s move to skirt over devolution in his speech to mark the official opening of Parliament last Thursday.
Source: Anger as Mugabe skirts devolution – NewsDay Zimbabwe October 11, 2016
BY PAIDAMOYO MUZULU
This is despite that the Constitution he assented to in 2013 provides for the setting up of provincial councils to oversee devolution of power at local authorities.
Legal think-tank, Veritas, last week expressed shock over Mugabe’s omission of the devolution issue when he spelt out the new legislative agenda for Parliament.
“Strikingly, there was no mention of a Bill to replace or amend the Urban Councils Act, a Bill to operationalise Metropolitan and Provincial Councils or Bills to replace or amend the Public Order and Security Act (Posa), the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (Aippa) and the Broadcasting Services Act,” Veritas said.
Political commentator, Dewa Mavhinga said the omission confirmed that Mugabe was not committed to devolution.
“There is neither the political will nor the commitment on the part of the government to implement key constitutional provisions including devolution of governmental power and functions to provinces,” he said.
“It seems the resistance to devolution stems from how political power and authority is highly centralised and concentrated in the Office of the President, both in the government and in Zanu PF.”
Analyst, Macdonald Lewanika concurred, saying Mugabe does not like sharing authority.
“Mugabe’s pedigree has always been about centralising power and creating institutions accountable to him, not the people and certainly not the Constitution,” he said.
“The fact that he didn’t place devolution on the parliamentary calendar of work shows his continued disdain for anything that tries to devolve any power from him as the centre. Devolution will not be given by Mugabe, and this is a reality that the people of Zimbabwe must face, and accept as a challenge – the same way they got constitutionalised, through pressure, is the same way they will get it actualised through pressure.”
MDC-T spokesperson, Obert Gutu said, “This was a deliberate omission. Right from the beginning, Zanu PF never made it a secret of their dislike of devolution. They want power to be centralised in one office, which is consistent with dictatorships.”
Local authorities, particularly in the country’s southern region, have been pushing to be allowed to run their own affairs independent of central government.