Zanu PF stalling on councils

via Zanu PF accused of stalling swearing-in of provincial councils. NEWSDAY 19 June 2014 by Paidamoyo Muzulu

OPPOSITION parties and civil society have accused the Zanu PF government of deliberately delaying the swearing-in of provincial councils to perpetuate its centralised government system although the new Constitution recognises devolution of power.

Paidamoyo Muzulu
Senior Reporter
For the past year the government has been dragging its feet to enact enabling legislation to operationalise devolution as enshrined in section 273 of the Constitution.

The section reads: “An Act of Parliament must make provision, consistent with this chapter, for the establishment and functions of provincial and metropolitan councils.”

The issue of devolution generated a lot of controversy and almost derailed the constitution-making process last year as Zanu PF officials sought to block it.

“Zanu PF does not want that prospect of the MDC-T leading the two metropolitan provinces that are pillars to the State’s economy,” MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora said.

The opposition MDC-T overwhelmingly won Harare and Bulawayo metropolitan provinces in the harmonised elections held last July and is automatically entitled to appoint chairpersons for the provincial councils.

Section 270 of the Constitution states that “a provincial or metropolitan council is responsible for the social and economic development of its province.”
MDC deputy spokesperson Sibongile Mgijima said that Zanu PF did not want devolution because it was afraid of transparency and accountability to citizens in the provinces.

“Devolution brings with it transparency and accountability especially now that the leadership will be resident in a particular province,” Mgijima said.

The opposition parties said the appointment of Ministers of State for Provincial Affairs by President Robert Mugabe confirmed the ruling party’s dislike of devolution.

Social commentator and former National Constitutional Assembly spokesman Blessing Vava said: “There was no seriousness in how devolution was incorporated in the Constitution, it was heavily diluted as the coalition partners compromised.”