ED talks up devolution

HARARE - President Emmerson Mnangagwa has pledged to institute provincial councils sooner rather than later in line with the provisions of the country’s Constitution as well as his government’s thrust on devolution of power.

He said this as he delivered his keynote address while commissioning the Hopeville Housing Project and a tomato processing plant in Bulawayo last week.

While Mnangagwa did not say what shape or form the provincial governments would take, he is hoping to see the development of provincial economies to drive growth of the national economy.

“My government will be implementing the devolution of government powers and responsibilities,” he said.

He added: “I thus call upon all stakeholders, private and public institutions to be alive to this new philosophy of provincial economic development, where provinces are expected to plan and grow their provincial GDPs in the same vein.”

GDP is the abbreviation for Gross Domestic Product, which refers to the total value of goods produced and services provided in a particular locality during one year.

Since the promulgation of the new Constitution in 2013, which provides for devolution of power to provinces and district in a bid to fight against marginalisation of communities, the Zanu PF government under former president Robert Mugabe had avoided implementing it.

In fact, then Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa had even urged Parliament when he presented the 2018 National Budget to scrap devolution saying it would come as a burden to the fiscus.

Mnangagwa, who has pledged to do things differently, made devolution one of his talking points during the election campaign trail.

Soon after the July 30 elections, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission proceeded to announce 10-member provincial councils for eight of the country`s provinces, which were elected through proportional representation.

According to the Constitution, provincial and metropolitan councils are meant to give powers of local governance to the people and enhance their participation in the exercise of the powers of the State and in making decisions affecting them; as well as to promote democratic, effective, transparent, accountable and coherent government in the country.

Last week, Mnangagwa described the Hopeville Housing Project and the tomato plant as critical building blocks towards the revival of Bulawayo.

He said the two projects were in line with government’s call to modernise the economy, adding that the plant will enhance economic growth in the second city and create employment.

“We can see it’s very possible to make Matabeleland green if we work together in harmony. Am told the plant will produce 30 tonnes of tomato juice every day, yet they are unable to satisfy demand…that means there are opportunities for those who are talented.

“No one should be saying asilamsebenzi (we are unemployed)…opportunities are there…if you don’t have land, come forward and ask for it…you can form groups and provide produce for the plant…,” said Mnangagwa.

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