Introduction and background

Zimbabwe’s 2013 Constitution has a clear scope for devolved governance. This is based on three tiers of government at national, provincial / metropolitan (10) and local (92) levels. Constitutional reference to devolution relates to how governmental powers and functions are distributed across these three tiers. The diversity that is Zimbabwe’s pre and post-independent political economy justifies the many voices negotiating the operational meanings and desirable design of devolved governance. This has focused on policies, laws, structures and processes necessary to actually deliver devolution.

Organizations under the umbrella of the Harare Metropolitan Residents Forum (HAMREF) have individually convened and been involved in relevant devolution debates. A recent meeting was held to articulate a common devolution position. HAMREF’s immediate focus was to have a clear perspective in the lead-up to a proposed Harare Metropolitan Provincial Devolution Conference . However, HAMREF members were also investing in a medium to long-term conversation to inform devolution implementation beyond the Conference. This focus also goes beyond Harare Metropolitan Province.

This paper pulls together insights drawn from activities convened over time by other civil society organizations. It highlights i) what civil society organizations expect devolution to deliver, ii) the emerging ambitions regarding the design and powers of sub-national government tiers, iii) concerns relating to gender and social inclusion, and iv) ideas about institutional mechanisms for steering transformative implementation of devolution in Zimbabwe.

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Source: Harare Metropolitan Residents Forum (HAMREF)