The Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) in partnership with Institute of Young Women In Development (IYWD) have petitioned the Parliament of Zimbabwe on the nature and substance of the Provincial and Metropolitan Councils Administration Bill that was gazetted on the 31st of March 2021.
The Bill seeks to operationalize and govern the running of both Provincial and Metropolitan Councils, however it falls far short of the devolution principles provided for in Chapter 14 of the constitution.
The key concerns that are being raised in the petition are that the gazetted Bill;
- Seeks to create two layers of government at the provincial or subnational level by conferring the constitutional functions of the Provincial and Metropolitan Council as provided for in Section 270 of the Constitution to the Provincial Minister and Devolution and Provincial Development Coordinator, a move that has the potential to create conflict and duplication of roles in our local governance system.
- Confers ceremonial status to the elected Provincial and Metropolitan Council which renders the Provincial and Metropolitan Councils powerless in discharging their constitutional mandate.
- Does not provide for a quota system to ensure equal representation of women, young women, and people with disabilities in the composition of structures of the Provincial Council for all elected and non-elected positions.
- Lacks clarity on the intentions of the Bill whether it is seeking to amend the Provincial Councils and Administration Act 29:11 or it’s a new Bill being proposed to operationalize Provincial and Metropolitan Councils.
- No footprint and evidence of contributions made by stakeholders in the contents of the Bill during the Inter-Ministerial Taskforce (IMT) alignment process that was done in Nyanga in 2020.
- The petitioners implore Parliament to consider addressing these concerns and push for the re-gazetting as well as facilitate sufficient public participation of citizens during the Public for the Bill.
- In terms of the Constitution of Zimbabwe Section 130(1) both the Senate and National Assembly have power to initiate, prepare, consider or reject any legislation.
CHRA reiterates that full implementation of devolution as provided for in the Constitution of Zimbabwe will enhance accountability and improve social service delivery.