Bulawayo residents have called on Finance minister Mthuli Ncube to allocate more resources towards devolution to ensure that the concept is fully implemented in line with the country’s Constitution.
This was said by participants during the 2022 national budget consultations by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Budget and Finance and the Thematic Committee on Sustainable Development Goals.
Devolution is provided for under Chapter 12 of the 2013 Constitution, with section 268 of the charter providing for the establishment of provincial councils in the country’s provinces.
It entails that each community should have some autonomy over their resources unlike in a centralised system where all decisions, even of local communities, are made by the central government.
However, to date, there is no enabling Act to operationalise devolution despite the government approving principles of the Provincial Councils and Administration (Amendment) Bill.
Analysts have said the failure of the government to implement devolution was because bureaucrats were afraid of losing political power.
Patrick Ndlovu, a participant in the consultations said devolution should be the top priority of the national budget to enable its full implementation. He added:
There is only one thing holding the country back from progress, and that is the non-implementation of full devolution.
Implement devolution and everything else will just fall into place. Even the electoral reforms will be useless without implementing devolution.
In 2021, Ncube allocated $19.5 billion towards devolution, to be shared among the country’s 10 provinces.
Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development representative Yollander Millin said the budget was not even enough to cater for Bulawayo’s budget needs as it requires $27.4 billion.