Bulawayo residents have implored the government to implement devolution to provinces in order for communities to leverage on local resources to spearhead economic and social development projects.
This came out during a virtual meeting held by Gender Accountability for Peace and Security (GAPS) and Community Podium on the role of Members of Parliament in the implementation of devolution of power.
While some MPs have demanded more involvement in the administration of Devolution funds, the Government, through Constitutional Amendment No. 2, removed MPs from being part of Provincial Councils. This was said to be a way of ensuring transparency and enabling MPs to provide oversight.
A participant said communities have not been fully capacitated to manage their own resources. “We have noted the devolution which we’ve experienced so far is in the form of funds but not the devolution of power and/or resources. Has the Parliament tried to ensure that Devolution is fully implemented so that power can be brought back to the people? In that way, communities will be able to manage their resources and develop their communities. I feel like local authorities are powerless and have no power over their resources,” said the participant.
Another participant noted the need to implement a devolution legislative framework in order to get a clear picture of how devolution should be enforced.
MP for Bulawayo Central Constituency Nicola Watson who was part of the discussion seconded the call to have legal frameworks enacted to facilitate the implementation of devolution.
“The Constitution in Sections 264 to 266 is clear on what is required to create a devolved local government. It requires an Act of Parliament to enable the devolution envisaged in the Constitution. Currently, the Provincial councils and administration Act is still in effect and requires alignment to the constitution as does the local government Act,” said Watson.
“We currently have a Minister of State and devolution yet there is no Constitutional provision for this position. Currently, the role of MPs in the implementation of devolution in their legislative role – to push for the required legislation in conformity with the constitution and the expectations of their constituents and an oversight role on funds already being allocated to devolution in line with the 5% required by the constitution.”
Source: Centre for Innovation and Technology