Blessings Chidakwa and Faith Katete – The Herald Newspaper

DEVOLUTION dividends have started bearing fruit as evidenced by massive infrastructural projects that include roads upgrade, clinics and schools’ construction as the Second Republic removed a devolution red tape of close to a decade, local authorities have said.

Government this year allocated $19,5 billion for devolution as it moves with pace to implement the strategy aimed at developing the country using local knowledge of needs and getting local communities to take responsibility for their development.

Zimbabwe Local Government Association (ZILGA) president Alderman David Mutasa said this yesterday while presenting a devolution discussion document titled “An articulation of the voice of organised local authorities on devolution in Zimbabwe”.

ZILGA represents all the 92 local authorities in the country. “As local authorities, we appreciate the Second Republic for ramping up the implementation of the devolution agenda, which had been stuck in red tape for close to a decade.

“Through the implementation of intergovernmental fiscal transfers, local authorities have been able to address infrastructure development deficits in record time. Roads have been rehabilitated, clinics and schools have been built, various service delivery equipment as refuse trucks, graders, tippers among other machinery have been procured.”

Mr Mutasa said it is the councils fervent hope that the allocations increase so that they continue to facilitate the progressive realisation of the socio-economic rights of people in various localities.

“Devolution of functions and resources brings Government closer to the people. It strengthens local governance and deepens democracy by enhancing citizen participation in their governance and development.

“As local authorities we envisage the devolution will increase efficiency and effectiveness of operations of local governance institutions by minimising bureaucracy owing to ensuring levels of decision making are closer to people,” he said.

Mr Mutasa said ZILGA relish the opportunity for its members to govern on their own initiative, managing their own affairs and steering appropriate development trajectories as enshrined in the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

“ZILGA has always maintained that the success of failure of the nation is best depicted by the collective performance of its local authorities. This is why we firmly advocate for the allocation of more resources to sub-national governments because that is where concerted effort takes place,” he said.

Mr Mutasa said devolution presents an opportunity for the Central Government to engage local government as partners for success and entrenching Government and society approaches to national development.

“This necessitates collaboration, elimination of competition and duplication of functions across tiers of Government. As the Government closest to the people, local government should be afforded the opportunity to offer all services to our people.

“Local authorities, as the third tier of Government, envisages an inclusive development agenda that leaves no place or anyone behind,” he said.

Mr Mutasa said ZILGA urges Central Government to facilitate a transition toward a devolution framework that will result in the achievement of Vision 2030, by embracing the principle of subsidiary, territorial approach to local government and policy coherence.