Matabeleland provincial councillors have called on the government to expedite the amendment of the Constitution to allow for easier implementation of devolution.
This came out during a Provincial Council`s meeting in Bulawayo, Wednesday, which was convened by the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights).
According to the new Constitution, devolution seeks to recognize the right of communities to manage their affairs and to further their development.
The new Constitution created eight provincial councils with 10 councilors each, elected through proportional representation.
The provincial councils were established to accommodate growing calls from Zimbabweans for a devolved state since the 2000 constitutional review exercise.
There are also two metropolitan provincial councils – Harare and Bulawayo – that will spearhead development in these respective cities.
Speaking during the meeting, Headman Hikwa said there is a need to probe the reason behind the delay of swearing-in of provincial councilors.
“How many Provincial councilors are there but they are still not sworn, there is need to find the reason behind that,” said Headman Hikwa.
ZimRights National Director, Okay Machisa said the constitution needs to be amended to allow total independence of provincial councils.
“Provincial councilors in Matabeleland feel the constitution needs to be amended to allow total independence of Provincial Councillors because they feel that the Parliamentarians and Senators seat in their councils, it does not seat well,” said Machisa.
“They also want the process to be expedited so that they are seen to have been responding and their mandate is done without query or questioning because they will be carrying any duty legally.
“You can see their term of office started in 2018 and they have gone past one year and they haven’t been sworn in, so they are afraid that their term might come to an end before they serve the region.
“These are the people who actually resigned from what they were doing and they then dedicated themselves to carry out this circle of Provincial council duty,” he said.
He added that devolution has to be implemented to benefit the country`s provinces.
“If the resources are controlled by Matabeleland South itself, you can see that they have four boarders and minerals they can prioritize things that are very key to them that the Central government is struggling to meet.
“Matabeleland is rich so if they are left to govern their resources and allocate their resources and make sure that they contribute to the national fiscus, they can do very well,” said Machisa.
He added that “there is a need for provincial council members to engage Minister of States, Provincial Affairs and Parliamentary Portfolio Committee and Minister of Local Governance for devolution to be implemented in Matabeleland.”