AS the Second Republic has committed itself to implementing National Development Strategy 1 (NDS 1), 2021-2025, devolution is one of the key areas prioritised towards the achievement of Vision 2030 of an upper-middle income economy.
Oxford English Reference Dictionary defines devolution as: “The delegation of power, especially by a Central Government to local authorities.”
According to the NDS 1 document: “Devolution seeks to make the system of governance community-based and people-centred by enhancing community participation in making decisions on local development issues that affect them and in the exercise of Government powers, whilst exercising the preservation of national unity.”
The concept is a way of fast-tracking development and a form of administrative decentralisation.
It is good for its recognition of the right of lower arms of Government to manage affairs in a participatory and equitable manner.
Since Government has been prioritising economic development, the 2022 budget set aside the biggest amount in the history of devolution, with an aim to empower local communities.
To facilitate this strategic and sustainable direction, the 2022 Budget statement by Minister of Finance and Economic Development Professor Mthuli Ncube, in part, says:
“Furthermore, through the inter-governmental fiscal (devolution) allocation, an amount of ZWL$42,5 billion, being five percent of total revenues, will be disbursed to all local authorities for implementation of impactful community infrastructure projects.”
This is in line with Section 301 (3) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe which states that not less than five percent of the national revenues must be allocated to the provincial, metropolitan and local tiers of Government.
Reads part of the 2013 amended Constitution:
“Not less than five per cent of the national revenues raised in any financial year must be allocated to the provinces and local authorities as their share in that year.”
Devolution is provided for in the Constitution, with its main goal being the equitable allocation of national resources and the participation of local communities in the determination of development priorities within their areas.
In 2021, a total budget of ZWL$19,5 billion was allocated for devolution with the bulk of the funds going to health, water, sanitation and social amenities projects.
Powers have been granted to local authorities in Zimbabwe to develop their localities.
It is crucial to look at Manicaland Province in this respect.
Records reveal that Manicaland local authorities received ZWL$200 million to renovate Sakubva Stadium, upgrade Dangamvura water pipeline and rehabilite Mutare Infectious Diseases Hospital.
Health facilities were also repaired in Chimanimani, Chipinge and Buhera.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Nick Mangwana, on July 31 2021, tweeted that Mutare Rural District Council (RDC) received
ZWL$6 239 253 in 2020 and ZWL$8 200 000 in 2021 which funds were used as follows:
Classroom blocks were constructed at Hamamaoko, Chigonda, Mavhiza and Mhangaurwe primary schools.
Mutare had also received a nod to use devolution funds to repair schools damaged by Cyclone Idai, including Ndorwe Primary School.
There were also some renovations at Madanga Clinic, Bazel Bridge toilet as well as the purchase of two water bowsers, two dump trailers, two tractors, one tipper truck and one project supervision vehicle.
Chipinge RDC used part of its devolution funds to improve on health and well-being in some of the most remote parts of the district.
Construction of houses for health personnel and clinics in Zamuchiya, Checheche, Chipangayi and Gumira clinics was done.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa once tweeted:
“Preparations for the 2021-2022 agriculture season is on course. The party must actively participate in the devolution programmes which have far reaching impact on the quality of life of our people.”
In November 2020, devolution funds were disbursed to 30 schools in Chipinge, which is a noteworthy intervention.
By December 2020, Manicaland Province, through devolution funds, spurred infrastructural development and improved livelihoods in line with Vision 2030, with Chimanimani receiving the biggest share.
Chimanimani RDC reportedly used devolution funds to construct new clinics.
Hot Springs Clinic was also constructed.
There was no clinic there, yet there was proliferation of diseases, such as malaria and sexually transmitted infections, hence the need. Indeed, devolution is not only transforming Manicaland but the entire country.
Massive development has been the order of the day countrywide as devolution takes centre stage such that even the South African opposition, EFF, once commended the Second Republic when they said: “As a party we are backing the Government’s efforts for a developed Zimbabwe. We have realised that the Second Republic is more about action than talking and abusing of social media on falsehoods.
We are certain the roads rehabilitation process is a starting point for development. Without roads nothing can be done or achieved.
We need proper roads, for instance to transport goods we produce from farms, mines, firms, etc.
So it is very strategic and commendable that the Government has prioritised rehabilitation of roads.
This is a very correct foundation for the country to achieve Government’s Vision 2030.”
No doubt devolution is all-inclusive push and the Second Republic is leaving no-one and no place behind.