by Rudo Saungweme
The constitutional provisions to devolve power to provincial levels will become a reality soon under President-elect Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa.
The devolution of power is in line with Section (2) of the country`s constitution under which central government should cede more powers to provincial councils so they can determine their development priorities. The devolution of power will see provinces exploring their resources and managing them. This development comes as His Excellency E.D Mnangagwa is focusing more on economic revival than politics.
Addressing a rally at Phelandaba stadium President E.D Mnangagwa said, “We are now saying politics yes but it should come after economics.” This move will also see the provincial minister`s role shifting to become an economic role. President Mnangagwa addressing the same gathering said, “They (provincial ministers) must see that the GDP of their province must grow. They must look at the resources of that particular province”. This will ensure the resources in each province benefit its people.
Zimbabwe’s ten provinces have vast resources. The status quo has been that all major business transactions take place in Harare. For instance, tobacco auctioning witnessed farmers coming as far as Mash West. Devolution will ensure this burden is dealt with as local administrations will be running their own affairs.
Centralisation discourages planning of development programmes and hinders local involvement. Devolution which is being called for by His Excellency President E.D Mnangagwa will be the answer to all these challenges. Without the devolution of power, administrative structures retain control over decision-making, resource allocation, and the information and knowledge required if people are to play an effective part in developmental activities.
Devolution of power develops a democratic system of governance and an adequate provision of basic services, thereby facilitating participatory decision making. It also brings the government closer to the governed. By so doing again, economic development in the whole of the country will also be balanced. Devolution of power is the way to go, as no province will be left behind in terms of development.
The Mugabe administration had no interest in implementing the devolution of power and this created loopholes for the leakage of resources by those on top whilst, the generality of the population remained impoverished. The administration of the resources was run by the top management who were not resident in the area. For instance, the Marange Diamonds in Manicaland never benefited the people who lived in Marange but the top management that would come to loot the diamond and go.
People in resource rich areas are living in abject poverty, yet their land is blessed with valuable natural resources. The Mnangagwa`s administration is putting an end to all this. People have to exploit their resources and benefit from them. Devolution will be able to fulfil the economic and developmental needs of disgruntled citizens. National unity, and therefore democracy in Zimbabwe, can be potentially enhanced as sub-governments mobilise local consent and cooperation in the implementation of national policies.