EXPERTS in local governance and democracy have said a lot still needs to be done in to ensure devolution in Zimbabwe sees daylight, Zim Morning Post can reveal.
In an exclusive interview with this publication on the ZWL$710 million dollars allocated for devolution experts said the devolution was not about monetary allocations rather a policy issue which would ensure transparency, accountability and good government.
Transparency International Director Mucha Mundopa said in devolution budget allocation is secondary as long the country does not have apparatus that would promote democracy, transparency and accountability.
“We are failing to combat corruption in local authorities therefore, these provincial councils will just inherit a corrupt system and after a long time we will realize that the provinces would not have developed as intended and the money unaccounted for.”
“At the moment the budget allocation is secondary and we are not concerned about it, rather the important thing is making sure that mechanisms to combat corruption in local authorities are put in place”
Mundopa reiterated that a lot need to be done by the current government and it needs to work with all stakeholders before it start allocating funds to provincial authorities.
“If we look at the findings from the Auditor General’s report, local authorities are still one of the most corrupt public institutions therefore giving them money without proper tools for transparency and accountability we are breeding room for corruption.”
Mundopa said they are currently advocating for a corruption risks assessment around the country to make sure that grants and budgets allocations will serve the intended purpose with little or no abuse of the funds.
The current Movement For Democratic Change (MDC) shadow minister for local governance Elias Mudzuri said there is no Act of Parliament that deals with Devolution in the country therefore the budget allocation does not make any changes.
“Devolution is mentioned in Chapter 14 of the Zimbabwean Constitution but it is not enough. There must be an act of parliament which talks specifically about devolution, giving guidance on allocation of funds, transparency as well as development but we are still far away from having that.”
In the 2013 Constitution Parliamentary Committee (COPAC) Constitution, it was agreed that provincial councils would administer the development of provinces equally but it was not implemented during the time of ousted leader President Robert Mugabe.
In the 2018 general elections Provincial Councils were elected but are still to resume work due to the absence of an Act of Parliament and enough funds.
“we need to have Provincial Councils like what is in South Africa but it can be possible when there is a Parliamentary Act. July Moyo (Minister of Local Government Public Works and National Housing) is supposed to be pushing for that but he has been silent therefore this government is not serious about devolution,” Mudzuri said.
He said even in the absence of the ACT the ZWL$710 million was not enough as it does not reach the agreed allocation of 5% of the National Budget for local authorities.
Last week Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube announced that ZWL$710 million will be allocated for devolution, an increase from ZWL$310 which was allocated at the beginning of the year.