Statement on the Government Proposal to kick-start the Implementation of Devolution

Wedza Residents Development Initiative Trust (WERDIT) welcomes the move by the Finance Minister to allocate $310 million towards the facilitation of devolution of power to provincial councils as announced in the 2019 National Budget, recently. Five (5) percent of the total revenue of the government was further allocated towards the development of local authorities. Government also approved the principles of Provincial Councils and Administration Amendment Bill spelling out mechanisms of decentralisation and devolution as enshrined in the Zimbabwean constitution.

We consider this a giant step towards the implementation of Devolution of Governmental Powers and Responsibilities as enshrined in Section 264 of the constitution. Since the enactment of the constitution in May 2013, the government had no political will, whatsoever to implement devolution. Instead they concentrated on reforms granting the Minister of Local Government National Housing and Public works imperial powers, for instance Local Government Amendment Act (2016).

We fully support the idea of implementing Devolution of Governmental Powers and Responsibilities because it gives powers of local governance to the residents in their localities and enhance their participation in the exercise of the powers of the state and in making decisions affecting them. It also promotes democratic, effective, transparent, accountable and coherent government, whilst recognising the right of communities to manage their own affairs and further their development.

Wedza, just like other rural and marginalised areas bores the brunt of underdevelopment characterized by poor infrastructure, especially on water, sanitation, roads and health/education facilities. According the Finance Minister, devolution is set to promote establishment of companies in various districts, with long established Growth Points including Wedza being hubs of this developmental initiative.

In the context of challenges by the Wedza District Council to fully collect revenue in the district, devolution makes revenue collection more efficient whilst local authorities benefit from local resources. In collaboration with its partner organisations WERDIT will continue to lobby and monitor the implementation of devolution in Wedza district.

Source: Wedza Residents Development Initiative Trust (WERDIT)