Fidelis Munyoro Chief Court Reporter
Government is finalising a framework for devolution to empower communities to manage their own affairs through participatory and inclusive governance and ensure balanced economic development.
Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa made the announcement during a post-Cabinet briefing yesterday.
She said Cabinet received the report on policy guidelines on the country’s devolution and decentralisation programme.
Minister of State for Presidential Affairs in charge of Implementation and Monitoring Dr Jorum Gumbo presented the report.
Minister Mutsvangwa said the policy guidelines were premised on the overriding objective to promote sustainable, representative, accountable, participatory and inclusive governance as well as balanced economic development of the country.
“The Zimbabwe devolution and decentralisation programme seeks to achieve the following, among other things; to cede some of the powers of central Government to provincial councils, metropolitan councils and local authorities, thereby bringing Government closer to the people,” she said.
“To empower communities to manage their own affairs and to further their own development; to encourage the equitable sharing of local and national resources; and, to preserve and to foster national unity and the indivisibility of Zimbabwe as a sovereign state.”
She said under this programme, provincial and metropolitan councils as well as local authorities will plan and implement social, economic and developmental activities in their areas of jurisdiction.
Further the provincial and metropolitan councils will plan and implement measures for the conservation, improvement and management of natural resources
Among other things, they are expected to promote tourism and develop facilities for that purpose, monitor and evaluate the use of resources as well as formulate regional investment and development plans derived from the national investment and development masterplan, following wide stakeholder consultations.
They will also coordinate and implement Governmental programmes and stimulate economic growth and employment creation through investment promotion, establishment of value-adding industries, SME businesses, public-private business partnerships and special economic zones as guided by their factor endowments.
Minister Mutsvangwa said ZIMSTAT will, on an annual basis, publish data on contributions to the national GDP by Metropolitan Councils.
“Minister of State for Provincial Affairs, working closely with the Ministers of Finance and Economic Development; Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, among others, provincial and metropolitan councils shall superintend the Devolution and Decentralisation Programme in the provinces,” she said.
“The aim is to merge with a devolution framework that positions the State as a whole, to respond better and faster to the demands of efficient service delivery, inclusive and balanced development, democracy, national integration and peace.”
Minister Gumbo said he has been tasked to ensure that the policy is put in place to give life to devolution.
“The President has come to the point that the issue of devolution must be implemented,” he said. “That is what I have been tasked, to make sure that the policy is now to be put in place.”
Minister Gumbo, however, conceded that all the 10 provinces are not equal in terms of resources. This, he said, Government was cognisant of that fact and is looking into that issue.
“There are areas where Government is going to take a position to make sure that there is equal distribution or recognition of such provinces or local authorities that might not be that strong economically regarding their resources,” he said.
Minister Gumbo said Government would ensure that there is no province that suffers lack of resources and was committed to providing the necessary provisions in the disadvantaged provinces.