Devolve power: Chikwinya

HARARE - Government should immediately establish provincial councils to devolve power and promote development in the provinces, an opposition legislator has said.

Provincial and metropolitan councils are provided for under the new Constitution and will be responsible for social and economic development of their respective provinces as well as coordinating and implementing governmental programmes.

The establishment of provincial councils is being stalled by the enactment of an Act of Parliament which will provide for the establishment of the structures and staff.

Contributing to a motion moved by Zanu PF Gokwe lawmaker Dorothy Mangami on local authorities, Settlement Chikwinya, MDC MP for Mbizo, said the government needs to operationalise the Provincial Councils.

“Some of our colleagues who were elected as provincial councillors have not yet been sworn-in,” Chikwinya said. “I want to take the challenge back to the executive that these members be sworn-in because when problems are looked at local level, they get immediate attention

“We are debating here in Parliament over national issues, whilst one particular Member of Parliament would want to zero-in on their particular constituency, but imagine if this was a Provincial Council, we would all be speaking on issues to do with the Midlands and when it comes to Kwekwe City Council, they are speaking on issues to do with Kwekwe.

“I propose, Mr Speaker, that the establishment of the provincial councils be done with immediate. I understand the limitations to do with the budget but I am sure the benefits which we are going to have are going to be immense.”

The Provincial Councils Bill states that Harare and Bulawayo will have metropolitan councils, while the remaining eight provinces will have provincial councils.

The metropolitan councils will be chaired by their respective mayor and will comprise of all members of the National Assembly from that province and six women members and six senators.

The chairperson of a Provincial Council will be elected by the full council, but the party that obtained the most National Assembly seats in that province nominates at least two qualified candidates, from which the full council chooses one.

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