Govt ‘illegally’ disbursing devolution funds

The much-awaited Devolution Bill is still stuck at the Attorney-General’s Office at a time when the government is accused of illegally distributing devolution funds in the absence of an enabling act.

The Zimbabwean Constitution, adopted in 2013 provides for the devolution of power from Harare to the country’s provinces but for nearly 10 years the government has been dragging its feet in coming up with an enabling act.

Responding to concerns on the centralisation of teacher recruitment during a question and answer session in Parliament Wednesday, Norton legislator, Temba Mliswa, demanded to know when the Devolution Bill would be brought to the august House.

“Once you devolve power then it becomes easy,” said Mliswa.   

“The question really is; when is the Devolution Bill coming to Parliament because once there is a law then there is no need for this. I think the Minister of Local Government and Public Works is best to answer that because the Devolution Bill gives powers to provinces. I also look forward to seeing issues of corruption being curbed in local authorities because there will now be oversight.”

But Local Government and Public Works Deputy Minister, Marian Chombo said: “The Devolution Bill is within the Attorney General’s office, therefore I cannot really specify when it will be out.”

Justice, Legal, and Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Ziyambi Ziyambi said they were having a challenge of drafters.

“Coming to the supplementary question on the Devolution Bill, the current position is that we have had shortages of drafters within the Drafting Department,” he told Parliament.

“I sought Treasury concurrence for us to hire drafters on a part-time basis and I have given the Attorney General up to Friday (today) to come up with a timeframe on how they are going to do it with a view of ensuring that those Bills are drafted this year. We have to deal with them before the elections to avoid the problems that we have been having.”

He explained further: “There are several Bills that we need to deal with such as the Provincial and Metropolitan Council Bills, the Urban Councils Bill, the Electoral Act – all those Bills we have specifically given the Attorney General a timeframe to say that the Treasury is in agreement that we can get part-time drafters for now so that we can expedite that process.”

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