Con-Court defers devolution hearing

HARARE - The hearing of Samuel Sipepa Nkomo’s Constitutional Court application seeking to push the government to implement devolution of power, has been deferred after it emerged the respondents had not yet filed opposing papers.

Nkomo, a former minister and member of the National Assembly for Lobengula in Bulawayo, dragged Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo, Justice minister and Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa to the Constitutional Court, alleging a breach of the country’s Constitution.

However, the matter could not be heard on merit yesterday after Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku, leading the full Constitutional Court bench, postponed the hearing indefinitely to enable the respondents to file their opposing papers.

Chidyausiku also granted the respondents condonation for the late filing of their response, further asking the registrar to set down the matter on the earliest possible date.

Nkomo, who is represented by Tendai Biti, argued that the failure by the respondents to operationalise Chapter 14 of the new Constitution was a violation of his fundamental rights and a breach of the law.

He said since the coming in of the new Constitution in May 2013, government has done nothing to implement devolution of power.

Nkomo argued in his affidavit that the respondents had failed or neglected to cause the enactment of an Act of Parliament that would give effect to the provisions of Chapter 14 of the Constitution.

“Indeed as a result, the respondents have failed to operationalise the key constitutional question of devolution in this country. Chapter 14, in so far as it deals with the provincial tier of government, has thus remained moribund or non-operational,” Nkomo argued.

He added that the issue of devolution was key and central in the country and the constituency that he represents.

The law of devolution stipulates that there should be a provincial council for each of the country’s provinces, consisting of governors and mayors among other officials and would be responsible for the social and economic development of the province.

They would also focus on the planning and implementation of social and economic development activities to ensure the equitable sharing of local and national resources.

“Having been so agreed and incorporated in the new constitution (devolution), surely there should be no reason why it is taking the respondents months and months before the same is implemented,” Nkomo said.

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