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Institutional autonomy key to devolution of power: Analysts

Devolution will not work if state institutions are still controlled by the central government, analysts have noted.

Devolution will not work if state institutions are still controlled by the central government, analysts have noted.

Political analyst Mr Dumisani Mpofu said provinces have to be in control of resources in their communities for devolution to be implemented.

“State institutions like Forestry Commission, National Parks and Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) are controlling critical resources when it comes to decision making in relation to investment,” said Mpofu.

“lf we are not in charge of the land, forestry, animals and water itself we are not going anywhere”.

Mpofu alleged that the government was using the state institutions to deplete communities’ resources.

“State institutions are products of central government and the constitution was deliberately designed to be silent about those institutions,” said Mpofu.

Mpofu added that if institutions are still under the government, investment in provinces will be hindered.

“If you want to invest in agriculture, water, both surface and underground is controlled by ZINWA. The price model is controlled by ZINWA,” he said

“How then are we going to promote investment in agriculture?”

Mpofu said these fundamentals should be addressed first before implementing devolution.

“Without addressing these fundamentals, devolution will turn to be a waste of time. It is just decentralisation defined as devolution”.

Under devolution, each province would have its own economic development plan underpinned by resources found in that province.

Former Mangwe Rural District Council Chief Executive Officer Mr Nketa Mangoye Dlamini also echoed the same sentiments saying for devolution to work, community leaders such as Village Development Committees (VIDCOs) and Ward Development Committees (WARDCOs)  in rural areas should not be appointed on a partisan basis but by the community

“As long as community leadership is appointed by the ruling party, devolution would be waste of time,” said Dlamini.

He noted development starts at the community level hence the community should choose people they trust to lead them in developing their communities.

Devolution of power allows communities to manage their own affairs and to benefit from their own resources.

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