Mudenda pre-empts Biti’s devolution court challenge

Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda has pre-empted opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) leader Tendai Biti’s planned court challenge over devolution, saying the clause that guarantees decentralisation of power is vague, open and cannot be argued in court.

Source: Mudenda pre-empts Biti’s devolution court challenge – NewsDay Zimbabwe September 21, 2016

By Tatenda Chitagu

Biti recently told his supporters at the PDP’s first anniversary celebrations in Bulawayo that he would soon sue the government over its failure to implement devolution.

“We are going to approach the courts until there is devolution in this country. There is no country that develops without devolution and here in Zimbabwe, these Zanu PF thieves do not want such,” he said then.

Section 264 of the Constitution stipulates: “Whenever appropriate, governmental powers and responsibilities must be devolved to provincial and metropolitan councils.”

However, government is yet to implement the provision three years after the adoption of the new Constitution.

Responding to a question from the media on devolution at a meeting held in Masvingo last week, Mudenda said: “Section 264 sub-section 1 starts with the words, ‘Whenever appropriate’. That is problematic because who should decide when it is or when it is not appropriate to devolve? This is an open clause. You cannot go to the minister and say: ‘You have delayed devolution’. That is food for thought.”

He added: “I am speaking as a lawyer. If we go to court, I will say it is not yet appropriate, unless you argue otherwise the meaning of appropriate.”