The Centre for Community Development in Zimbabwe (CCDZ) held a Devolution Policy Workshop in Harare on Monday 30 November to assess progress in the implementation of devolution as spelled out in Chapter 14 of the Constitution. The workshop was attended by members of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Local Government, Civil society
and other local government stakeholders.
The workshop was led by local governance experts from the Midlands State University and University of Zimbabwe. The workshop sought to deepen legislators’ understanding of devolution and decentralization so that they can play an effective role and contribute meaningfully when the Provincial Councils Bill that is expected to be tabled in Parliament is debated. The legislators were challenged to exercise their constitutional role and speed up the process of coming up with legislation to implement devolution and establishment of Provincial Councils.
The workshop also discussed the economic and political benefits of devolution. The workshop noted that when fully implemented, devolution will address democratic deficits, correct territorial injustices, developmental imbalances and promote citizen participation in the governance and socio – economic development. Devolution will bring Government closer to communities and make it more accessible as a way of enhancing responsiveness, accountability and participatory governance over local development agendas.
The workshop was also attended by civil society organizations who expressed concern over the delay in establishing the Provincial Councils. A representative from the Local Governance Capacity Building Trust (LGCBT) David Matumbike shared civil society’s concerns with regards to the implementation of the devolution program. He bemoaned government’s lethargy and delays in formulating the enabling Act to pave way for the establishment of Provincial Councils and the Contestations and politicization of the devolution process among others.
The workshop resolved on the following:
- That Civil Society will continue to engage and step up its lobby and advocacy efforts for government to expedite implementation of devolution.
- That there is need to continue to engage legislators and provide training on devolution and decentralization to equip these legislators so that they can play their legislative and oversight roles effectively.
- To lobby the Government and Parliament of Zimbabwe to put in place mechanisms to ensure transparency and accountability in the allocation and use of Devolution Funds.
- CCDZ and its civil society partners to conduct community outreaches to publicize the devolution and decentralization policy and educate citizens on devolution ahead of the Public Hearings on the Devolution Bill expected to be conducted by Parliament in 2021.
Source: Centre for Community Development in Zimbabwe