Religious organisations hail 2nd Republic for Devolution program

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Bulawayo (New Ziana) -Religious organisations have hailed the Second Republic for pursuing the devolution agenda aimed at developing the country using local resources and enabling communities to spearhead the development of their areas.

This came out during the Alternative Mining Indaba which the Zimbabwe Environmental Lawyers Association (ZELA) jointly convened with the Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC) on Monday.

Representatives of the organisations concurred that while the devolution policy needed fine turning, the government had made great strides in implementing it.

The discussion on devolution emanated from the “Devolution We Want Project” which is being run by the Zimbabwe Heads of Christian Denominations (ZHOCD) which the ZCC is party to.

Devolution is enshrined in the 2013 Constitution, but its implementation began in earnest with the coming in of the Second Republic under President Emmerson Mnangagwa when growing sums are being budgeted to top the funds that local authorities raise to fund essential infrastructure in their areas.

Reverend Lizwe Nyoni from Zvishavane said the church supported the devolution agenda and it was assisting the government to raise awareness about it.

“As the church, we really support devolution and it should clearly be noted that we are not competing with the government, but we are complementing each other, trying to make people understand what devolution is,” he said.

Nyoni however said the church expected transparency in the process of devolution, with the government and stakeholders accounting for everything that they did.

He said there was also need for political for the program to succeed, as some individuals would be tempted to exploit the local resources for personal gain.

“It is our prayer that all God given minerals in our communities should not be a curse but a blessing to them,” he said.

There was also need for lawmakers to turn the policy into law so as to provide a framework for its implementation, he explained.

Speaking at the same event, Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD) senior programmes officer, Tashinga Zamba agreed that the devolution agenda was progressing well throughout the country.

“In terms of administrative devolution, there is progress so far. We see the High Court in Mutare, we see the High Court in Chinhoyi, we see the issuing of e-passports everywhere and as we get to 2030, a lot more will be achieved.

“We cannot hold anyone accountable when we still have a policy unless it is a law. The devolution we want is when the policy becomes a law.”

Revered Rodden Dzeka from Mutoko said devolution should not be politicised, but should take everyone on board.

Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC) President Bishop Ignatius Makumbe concurred, saying there was a knowledge gap in communities regarding devolution issues.

He said the church could fill the void through informing and educating the public about the program

New Ziana

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