By Tafadzwa Muranganwa
On Monday, the state daily revealed that President Emmerson Mnangagwa has taken charge of devolution in a move the paper said was essential to push development in the marginalised area.
However, this has stoked reactions from the opposition circles and civic society organisations who believe that the devolution concept should not be politicised.
MDC Alliance spokesperson Jacob Mafume blasted the idea adding that it was more like centralising the process.
“The problem is you cannot take charge of devolution by centralising it, the moment ED says he is taking charge of devolution that means he has already centralised it.
“It’s an oxymoron, it does not make sense at all and what it means he has destroyed devolution because he does not understand it,” argued Mafume.
The opposition spokesperson said ideally the devolution concept should be driven by an ‘inter-parliamentary commission that deals with all aspects of devolution’ as it is multi-faceted.
“What needs to be done is that there should be an inter-parliamentary commission that deals with all aspects of devolution which are geographical, physical, functions and also relate revenue collection and disbursement, therefore, one office cannot purport to devolve,” added the MDC Alliance spokesperson.
The decision by President Emmerson Mnangagwa to take charge of devolution affirms the perception that his appointees may not be supporting the concept, says Platform for Youth Development director Claris Madhuku.
“The fact that President Mnangagwa is said to be taking charge of devolution in a way shows that there could be resistance from his comrades in government.
“Devolution means that certain decisions can be made at a local level and this is not a Zanu PF culture so it then means for the implementation to be successful, the President has taken it upon himself to oversee it,” he said.
According to a Gwanda-based organisation Community Youth Development Trust director Sichasisile Ndlovu, the Mnangagwa-led administration seems committed to devolution but there is a lack of transparency on how the money set aside for devolution will be disbursed.
“I believe that the government looks committed to devolution but my concern is on the transparency side of disbursements – what criteria will be used,” she said.
Government has so far allocated $310million towards devolution.
There has also been concern over that the establishment of Provincial and Metropolitan Councils (PMCs) for the full implementation of devolution as spelt out in Chapter 14 of the Constitution is long overdue.