By Leopold Munhende
Harare metropolitan residents have rejected to recognise the office of the Development Coordinator (PDC) headed by Tafadzwa Muguti saying its establishment was against the country’s Constitution.
On Monday, Muguti called for a meeting with the provincial development committee, which was attended by government officials, local councils’ town clerks, and other stakeholders from Harare metropolitan.
Muguti, who chaired the meeting, said the gathering was “the beginning of devolution.”
“Harare is the pulse of the nation, this is the beginning of devolution,” he told those in attendance.
“The first task is unbundling ministry duties to the province. I will be meeting captains of industry to hear what they will be able to contribute to our provincial economic plan. Everything we do as Harare is under the spotlight, anyone who flies into Zimbabwe meets us first.”
However, speaking in separate interviews with NewZimbabwe.com, after the meeting the Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) and Harare Metropolitan Residents Forum (HAMREF) said they did not recognise Muguti’s office as it was against the Constitution.
CHRA programmes officer Rueben Akili said an all stakeholders meeting held in the capital recently had actually proposed the nullification and dissolving of the committee and office of the PDC.
“If you look at the meeting we had a few weeks back we were of the view that the appointment of the committee be nullified and it be dissolved. It was even proposed that the position of the office of the PDC be dissolved,” said Akili.
“We have started devolution at a slow pace and on a wrong footing considering that citizens have been putting their recommendations on the devolution they want and how they want it structured.
“We see the concentration of power by the centre and there is no will to devolve power.”
HAMREF chairperson Marvelous Khumalo said the government should stop cherry picking what it wants from the Constitution when implementing devolution.
“We took a stand that the appointment of the ministers of state for provincial affairs and devolution was not in sync with Chapter 14 of the Constitution which by objective seeks to devolve or decentralise power from the centre to the periphery,” the former legislator said.
“We feel these (provincial) ministers are what the people of Zimbabwe rejected. They were known as governors; they have no space within the developed setup.
“We did not attend the PDC meeting called for by Muguti. What we want is the implementation of the 2013 Constitution with respect to Chapter 14 and devolving of power from central government to lower tiers. We appeal to government to implement devolution as per Chapter 14 rather than cherry pick.”
The Constitution of Zimbabwe does not include the establishment of PDC offices.