Devolution is a key driver of economic development in a country, promoting indigenous communities to use their natural resources for economic solutions, Bulawayo Mayor Councillor Solomon Mguni has said.

Addressing members of the Urban Councils Association of Zimbabwe (UCAZ) during an annual conference, Wednesday, Bulawayo mayor Cllr Mguni reiterated that for the system of devolution to work, roles and responsibilities for various tiers of government must be clarified.

The association is currently running its 78th edition under the theme “Urban Local Authorities: Embracing Devolution towards Attaining Vision 2030” from November 13 to November 15 at the Zimbabwe International Exhibition Center.

The mayor noted that for devolution to be properly exercised a holistic approach should be taken including crafting legal frameworks that will guide its implementation.

“Devolution must be embraced in its truest sense. It is not one-sided but should cover all aspects of the economy and the government. This means that there should be clear roles and responsibilities for various tiers of government under a devolved system. There should be devolution of the economy, decision making and investment drive of the country as a whole,” he said.

“We need to ensure that as local authorities we contribute to the devolved system through such forums (UCAZ) where we share our contributions towards the crafting of legal frameworks that will bring about the process of devolution.”

Cllr Mguni said this year’s theme speaks to the core of Urban Local Authorities as service providers and their role in ensuring that Zimbabwe attains vision 2030 through a devolved government system.

“Devolution has been in the country’s agenda as spelt out in the country’s constitution and it is important that as we work towards a middle-class economy, Zimbabwe brings to fruition these aspirations,” he said.

“The economy of Zimbabwe is largely embedded in our various local authorities as we are endowed with different land and natural resources that are an integral part of its development. It is key that as we discuss we start building models on how we can attain devolution in our various areas and also what the focus of our Metropolitan provinces will be.”

Cllr Mguni added that Urban Local Authorities have a role in identifying synergies that can assist to improve the standards of living in Zimbabwe and force a culture of good service delivery.

He said it is fundamental to take into cognisance that the urban local authorities’ role is to improve the livelihoods of communities and to craft strategies that will ensure improved service delivery for attaining vision 2030.

“Economic empowerment is one of the important pillars that need to be attained at a local level in order to attain a vision of a middle-class economy as a nation. We have to be forthcoming in crafting investment drives that will propel the economy of Zimbabwe and be key in its revitalisation.”

Source: Centre for Innovation and Technology (CITE)