By Felex Share
President Mnangagwa yesterday said Government is committed to the constitutional concept of devolution and its full implementation will ensure Zimbabweans benefit from the natural resources in their localities. Section (2) of the Constitution obliges central Government to cede more powers to provincial councils for them to set local development priorities.
Addressing thousands of people who thronged the National Sports Stadium for the Independence Day commemorations, President Mnangagwa said devolution was underway with Government having allocated $310 million for the programme.
“Recognising that we are a unitary, but diverse state, the Second Republic will seek to facilitate the development of marginalised communities in all our activities,” he said.
“We are steadfast in our commitment to fully implement the devolution system. Treasury has so far allocated a total of $310 million to facilitate the devolution programme. In line with our Independence theme of ‘Embracing Devolution, for Vision 2030’, and in the spirit of our long held position of indigenisation and economic empowerment, communities must benefit from the natural resources endowments in their localities.”
Turning to the land reform programme, the Head of State and Government reiterated that it was irreversible.
“I want to once again re-assure our citizens that the Land Reform Programme is irreversible,” he said.
“We fought for the land and we will never ever regret taking back our land. Neither will we ever betray our fellow comrades who paid the supreme sacrifice for this land and now lie buried in marked and unmarked graves within our borders and beyond.
“Our Constitution, binds us to compensation in respect to improvements effected on the land before acquisition .This will be done as and when resources are available. Legacy issues related to the programme such as multiple farm ownership, disregard for maximum farm size, allocation of grazing land and unclear boundaries among others, must be addressed head on, without fear or favour.
“The Land Audit Report is expected to help return order in this respect. Where possible, some of those still in need of land will be considered thereafter.”
He said Government was waiting for a report on the Commission of Inquiry on the Sale of State Land to reorganise unplanned settlements. This reorganisation, President Mnangagwa said, will see people having acceptable habitations.
“Relatedly, we have begun the urban renewal programmes, starting with the populous suburbs of Mbare in Harare, Makokoba in Bulawayo and Sakubva in Mutare,” he said.
“The renewal programme is anchored on the smart city concept and will see the involvement of the private sector.”
President Mnangagwa said political reforms and entrenchment of democratic tenets, the rule law, good governance and an orderly society remained Government priority.
“In pursuance of this, we are accelerating our legislative reforms to ensure that our laws conform to the Constitution,” he said.
“This will see the introduction of new legislation in relation to public security, protection of privacy and access to information, among other laws.
“I would like to commend the Security Services for their continued loyalty and defence of the Constitution and the nation.
“We specifically commend our Defence Forces for the role they played during the recent Cyclone Idai disaster. Law and order are important ingredients for our national peace, development and prosperity as well as for the orderly enjoyment of constitutionally enshrined rights.”