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Devolution Legislation Gathers Moment Nicodemously

MUTARE- An umbrella coordinating body of youth-focused and youth-led organizations has raised concern over what appear like rushed efforts to sneak in a weakened ‘devolution bill’ which merely recentralizes powers.

These misgivings were raised at a Pre-Sensitization Dialogue Meeting, organised by The National Association of Non-Governmental Organizations (NANGO) umbrella body the coordinating body of NGOs in Zimbabwe.

National Association of Youth Organizations (NAYO) director Misheck Gondo said efforts to fast track the law to comply with a High Court order could lead to a watered down version.

He said the proposed Provincial and Metropolitan Councils Administration Bill, also widely known as the Devolution Bill, have serious impactions on the devolution agenda.

“Consultations will start next and the government seems like it is sneaking this behind the people, we are not sure if people are aware of this development because well placed sources have revealed that consultations could begin as early as next week,

“The state is afraid of devolving power because of the implementations that it has on governance of natural resources.

“Laws must not be vague where there different interpretations it must be clear on definitions of parties and not leave room for different meanings,” he said.

The Bill will also set for the Audit Committees Finance Committees, while a Minister vaguely referred to appears to have power to authorize, approve and allow for the provincial councils to operate.

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Provincial councils will be given greater fiscal powers including borrowing powers, which allows them to get funds deployed without oversight on how they are utilieed, creating conduits for corruption youths said.

NAYO is canvassing main youth sector pre-sensitization meeting on the bill raising awareness on the contents, context, challenges and opportunities of the Bill to the young people. It also seeks to develop a common position amongst youths before the Public Consultations of the PMC Bill commence.

NANGO eastern region coordinator Joseph Kauzani said while the proposed legislation confers law making power to provincial councils, precedence is given to national laws.

He said this has serious implications on how the devolution structure operates.

“Proposed laws is clear that in case of conflict beetween provincial laws the national legislation will take precedence.

“We need to look at this closely given the track record that we have when it comes to rule of law and consititutionalism, so we need to ask key questions around this because we already know our track record,” said Kauzani.

Other concerns also centres on the proposed Provincial Technical Committees which compose membership of the security establishment including Zimbabwe Republic Police, President’s Office and the Zimbabwe National Army.

“The technical committees represents the JOC team, why so much security when this is about development this show that this is not about development its all politics” said a youth who requested anonymity.

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Ziyambi“We are afraid to even speak of development arounds the security guy the intimidate us at the end the youth voice is missing in national development and our aspirations are not being fulfilled.”

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