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Devolution: Govt ponders on amending constitution

The Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing is yet to look into the composition of metropolitan councils in Bulawayo and Harare, which is derailing the implementation of devolution, Minister July Moyo has said.

Bulawayo and Harare do not have proportional representatives, who are supposed to make up the metropolitan councils as espoused in Section 271 of the Constitution.

Addressing the Senate last week, Minister Moyo said the constitution has omitted clauses in terms of who is supposed to chair the metropolitan council, hence affecting progress in implementing devolution.

“The President has said we must follow the Constitution and implement it as quickly as possible but I must admit that we have had difficulties in terms of the devolution part of the Constitution,” said Moyo.

Minister Moyo said the constitution had to be looked into to address this issue.

“I did allude to it when I made statements earlier in the year that we have elected people, ten of them in each province except in Harare and Bulawayo Metropolitan Provinces.

“In Harare and Bulawayo Metropolitan areas there are no elected 10 proportional representatives during the last general election. When one closely reads the Constitution, you will see that there is some omission.

 “Whilst the 10 are not listed as members of the metropolitan councils. So, we have had to look at all these issues and say what do we do,” explained Minister Moyo.                                    

He said there is also still need for consultation on who is going to do the oversight on devolution finances.

“Then of course, there is the major issue of what to do with Members of Parliament whose oversight role should be to look after the finances that are being given to the metropolitan councils, but if all members of councils including Senators who are here are also members of the metropolitan councils who will do that oversight.

“So, there is a lot of consultation that is going on so that we can see our way forward”.

He said it was high time those who were elected in other metropolitan council to be sworn in.

“We think that we now have funds in order to swear in those who have been elected so that they do not remain in limbo and the President has let us organise for this so that we can actually fulfil the tenets of the Constitution that we have alluded to”. 

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