Enact enabling acts to implement devolution: UCAZ

Town Clerks forum secretary and Bindura Town Clerk, Shangwa Masevera, has bemoaned the absence of enabling legislature and policies, citing this as a hindrance to the implementation of devolution of power by lower tiers of the government.

Masevera made these remarks while addressing at the 78th Urban Council Association of Zimbabwe (UCAZ) conference in Bulawayo last week.

The conference ran under the theme “Urban Local Authorities: Embracing Devolution Towards Attaining Vision 2030,” and was attended by urban councillors, town clerks, the private sector and other key stakeholders.

Masevera said the constitution clearly provides that an Act of Parliament must be enacted in order for devolution to be implemented.

“Section 270 (2) of the Constitution states that an Act of Parliament must provide for the establishment, structure and staff of provincial and metropolitan councils, and the manner in which they exercise their functions,” he said.

“An Act of Parliament as stated in section 270 (2) is still work in progress, making it difficult to understand the relationships between these councils and local authorities in terms of service delivery to citizens.”

He noted that the absence of an enabling Act and policy guidelines continues to make it extremely difficult for the lower tiers of government namely provincial councils and urban councils to effectively participate in the implementation of this constitutional provision.

Masevera added that lack of legislature also hampers local authorities’ preparedness to implement devolution.

“The level of preparedness is however hampered by the absence of an enabling Act and the realignment of the existing laws to the constitution. That there is no Act ready on devolution is a setback… That a number of Acts have not been aligned with the constitution, specifically pertaining to devolution, is a setback,” he said.

The Bindura town clerk also explained that there was a need to have consensus on the roles to be played by various key partners to avoid duplication and conflict.

“We have several players in devolution implementation but we need to have consensus on the roles to be played by each partner. If we do not get consensus on the roles, we will not succeed because there will be duplication, waste of resources and conflict,” he said.

He also implored local authorities to craft bylaws and policies that enhance service delivery.

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