Enact Devolution Act now – Former magistrate tells MPs

ELLEN MLAMBO

CHIPINGE – A former Chipinge magistrate has told Parliamentarians to enact the Devolution Act now or risk missing Zimbabwe’s vision for an upper middle income economy by the year 2030.
Speaking at a 2022 National Budget hearing at Birchenough Bridge Hotel in Buhera on Wednesday, Advocate Amato Rungano said Devolution was critical for the achievement of a number of goals including economic and democratic aspirations of citizens.
However, while Devolution is in the Constitution, it has no Parliamentary statutes to operationalize it or make it legally binding, said Rungano.
He bemoaned the fact that Devolution is currently being implemented through the 5-year National Development Strategy (NDS 1) and the National Vision and Devolution Decentralisation Policy which are just policies.
He said the problem with this arrangement is that citizens cannot hold Government accountable in the absence of a Devolution legislation.
He said for the country to achieve an upper middle class economy, it has to start by enacting laws.
“Something that has a law is legally binding. To show your commitment to NDS1 Blue Print and that you want us to achieve an upper middle class economy by 2030, it has to start by enacting laws. So far these policies speak to decentralisation of power yet there is no legislation in place serve for policies that are not legally binding,” said Rungano.
The hearing was conducted by the Budget, Economic, Finance and Development Committee chaired by Gweru urban MP Brian Dube and the Extended Social Development Goals (SDGs’).
“The main aim of Devolution is to decentralise power and for citizens to make input with regards to decisions on use of local resources. However, there is not even one enabling act which operationalises Devolution. Parliamentarians, why don’t you put an act of law which deals with devolution?” asked Rungano.

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