By Eunice Masunungure
DEVOLUTION has spurred growth in Masvingo Province, a testimony that the objectives of devolution on paper correspond with the results on the ground. According to EDevolution 2021 Special Edition:
“Masvingo Province is on course to achieve its growth targets in line with Vision 2030, with Government availing over ZWL$8 billion since the beginning of the year to finance key projects aimed at expanding the province’s gross Domestic Product (GDP).”
Those looking for democratic, effective and coherent governance must look at devolution in Zimbabwe as
major inroads are being made in health, education, water, sanitation and infrastructure development in Masvingo.
A trusted source recently revealed that Chivi Council constructed Bwanya Clinic, classroom blocks at Nyahombe and Rubweruchena Secondary Schools and installed piped water at Chombwe.
By December 2021, Bikita had constructed and completed Mupamaonde, Budzi and Chibvure clinics.
Tafara Secondary School block roof was also completed, while 25 boreholes were drilled.
Classroom blocks were constructed at Musiya Primary and Tamuka Secondary schools while a semi-detached house at Manunure Secondary School was constructed.
By December 2021, Masvingo City Town had already worked on two projects, Mucheke trunk sewer and Runyararo North West Clinic.
Runyararo Clinic recently withheld opening its doors to the general public, waiting to be furnished with the relevant equipment to enable it to offer services.
Besides Masvingo City Town is Mwenezi where devolution funds, in 2021, were used to construct classroom blocks at Bubi, Mufula, Valley, Rushangarumwe and Turf Nyangambi primary schools.
More so, a structure was constructed at Petronella Clinic and Mushagashe Training Centre.
Local people did the brick work together with trainees from Mushagashe T C, taking forward the idea that no-one is being left behind.
In Chiredzi, clinics were constructed which include Turkey Heart in Ward 28, Gwaseche in Ward Seven, Rusununguko in Ward 32 and Masivamele in Ward Eight.
Of these four clinics, two are 100 percent complete.
Twenty-eight boreholes were also drilled across the district with 10 of these being equipped with solar or electricity-powered systems, especially the ones at business centres.
A new motorised grader was also purchased.
Speaking at the occasion of commissioning two tillage tractors acquired by Government for the District Development Fund (DDF) under the Agricultural Mechanisation Programme, in September 2021, Masvingo Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution Ezra Chadzimira expressed optimism that the province’s GDP would grow exponentially in the current decade, thanks to Government’s funding of critical projects.
The Minister revealed that some projects that got funding include the building of Great Zimbabwe University (GZU) Medical School, Amarula Fruit Processing and Value Addition Plant in Mwenezi and halls of residence complex at Roger Howman Vocational Training Centre.
Speaking at the same occasion, Minister Chadzimira said there are “…high-impact projects in the form of 70 000 ha irrigation development downstream of all our water bodies, construction of Runde-Tende Dam and support infrastructure that include power generation, roads, airports, dry ports and housing as well as human capital development.”
There is a lot to write home about devolution in Masvingo and, indeed, the projects on the ground match the blue print.
Chapter 11 of National Development Strategy 1, 2021-25, which constitutes devolution and decentralisation says: “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 governmental powers, whilst upholding the preservation of national unity.”
There are many projects that benefit people around Masvingo.
In fact, there are ongoing projects in every district and these cover areas of education, health and infrastructure.
The projects are being realised because of budget provisions that elaborately cover devolution for the country.
The 69th point of the National Budget Speech of 2022 presented to the Parliament of Zimbabwe on November 25 2021 by Minister of Finance and Economic Development Professor Mthuli Ncube reads: “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.”
In 2021, a total budget of
ZWL$19,5 billion was allocated for devolution with the bulk of funds used for health, water, sanitation and social amenities projects.
Of the total amount allocated in the 2021 Budget, nearly ZWL$3 billion was used to support local authorities across the country to implement devolution projects in their communities.
Those who do not like the idea of devolution must remember that devolution is a success story not only in Zimbabwe but elsewhere too.
The concept has been successfully implemented in Africa, Europe and Asia.
Northern Ireland Research and Information Briefing Paper, a Devolution Review of November 2016, posits that Wales had devolution arrangements that only conferred executive and administrative powers without authority to pass primary legislation.
In Europe, the Netherlands, Italy, France, Switzerland, Spain as well as Nordic countries Denmark and Finland, devolution has been practised.
For example, the Netherlands is on record for devolving power to two States and two provinces.
Denmark and Finland are smaller countries in terms of population than Zimbabwe but have devolved models of governance.
In Africa, Kenya has embarked on devolution which is hinged on their 2010 Kenyan Constitution.
Kenyan devolution is actually positively changing the relationship of government and citizens.
Kenya is on record for devolving power to 47 counties.
Devolution finds affirmation in Uganda’s 1995 Constitution, Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution and South Africa’s 1996 Constitution.
Records reveal that South Africa devolved power at provincial and municipal levels to nine provinces and 278 municipalities.
Zimbabwe is not the only country whose Constitution recognises and affirms devolution since other countries are also practising it successfully.
The Second Republic’s move towards the attainment of Vision 2030, which includes transforming Zimbabwe into an upper-middle income economy, is partly riding on commitment to implement the devolution agenda as its vital cog.