Govt Continues to Disregard Devolution in Tender Procedures

The government continues to disregard devolution in its tender procedures, something that has been described by analysts as an indication the Harare administration is not keen on devolving power to provinces as provided for in the Constitution. Chapter 14 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe adopted in 2013 provides for the devolution of power from the capital to the other nine provinces of the country.

In a move that clearly disregards the concept of devolution, the Ministry of National Housing and Social Amenities on September 13 flighted a domestic tender for the construction of 20 houses in Binga with instructions that bids should be delivered by hand in Harare. This means bidders from Binga for example have to travel almost 800km to submit their bids in Harare when the project is being implemented in their area.

“The Ministry of National Housing and Social Amenities of the Republic of Zimbabwe is inviting interested, potential and PRAZ registered bidders to bid for the construction of 20 x 3 roomed houses in Nsungwale area- Binga, Matabeleland North Province,” reads the government advert.

“Tenders must be enclosed in sealed envelopes and endorsed on the outside with the correct reference number, the description and the closing date. Bids must be delivered by hand to the Procurement Management Unit, 1st Floor, Office Number 112 ZIMRE CENTRE, Corner Kwame Nkrumah/ Leopold Takawira, Harare, on or before 1000hours on the closing date.”

The date is stated as October 5, in the advert which states that late submissions will not be accepted. “That is a discriminatory tender which is not in line with devolution,” a Bulawayo businessman told CITE. “Twenty houses are to be built in Binga but everything is done from Harare!”

Political analyst Effie Ncube said it was regrettable that the government continued to disregard devolution. “Instead of implementing in good faith all the provisions of the Constitution, including those that pertain to the devolution of power, the ZANU-PF government continues to disregard the Constitution as a useless piece of paper,” said Ncube.

“The level of lawlessness and love for power is staggering. Even buying grass brooms for sweeping in district offices is controlled from Harare. The sweeper and all their cleaning material are controlled from Harare. The decision of who will build local houses and all the material is controlled from Harare. All this is against the letter and spirit of the Constitution even in its watered-down version of devolution.”

He said such developments were a clear indication Zanu-PF has no intention to devolve real power. “They never wanted to,” he said.

“Add to all this the fact that tenders are being corruptly used to enrich a few, then you have a recipe for disaster. The government is never going to devolve power at all unless the country teeters on the verge of disintegration. Unless peace and governability are threatened there will never be devolution.”

He added: “For devolution to work ZANU-PF must be removed from power. ZANU-PF will never implement the Constitution. So for as long as they are in power true and meaningful devolution will never take place. ZANU-PF must go before we have any chance of the Constitution being followed to its letter and spirit.”

Mkhululi Tshuma, another political analyst said the government has never been sincere in its dealings with Matabeleland. “This government is indicating left while turning right,” he said.

“It wants to appear as if it now loves Matabeleland. The President hardly spends three weeks without visiting Bulawayo or Matabeleland. All this is done to fool people into thinking that the so-called new dispensation loves Matabeleland and its people but its genuine hatred for Matabeleland and its people is seen in matters to do with genuine empowerment of the people of the region.”

He said the proper implementation of devolution will remain a pipedream. “This government will never allow devolution for the simple reason that it would be difficult for them to continue their looting spree once devolution is implemented,” he said.

“They will always talk about it but when it comes to acting on it there will be nothing. A change of government is the only hope for the implementation of devolution in this country.”

He added: “Under the so-called new dispensation we will only here talk about devolution because they actually are the new deception. So they will deceive people through talking about it and appearing as if they are serious but that will be all about it.”

Source: Centre for Innovation and Technology