Civic and political groups have accused President Emmerson Mnangagwa of playing to the gallery by promising to implement devolution if he wins next month’s elections.
The new Constitution written and passed in March 2013 enabled devolution of power but Mnangagwa’s government has not implemented it by delaying aligning laws.
Speaking in Matabeleland South and Bulawayo last week, Mnangagwa promised he would act on the highly contested devolution of power which the Constitution recognises as giving provinces powers to conduct most of their affairs without waiting for central government.
However, civic groups and political parties here accused Mnangagwa of trying to lure votes ahead of the July 30 national elections by promising to act on devolution yet his own government has not implemented it.
“Chapter 14 of the Constitution operationalises Devolution of power as a result when Mnangagwa took over power he was supposed to implement it.
“He can’t talk of devolution because he is in Gwanda and Bulawayo. Why does he have to talk of devolution because he is in Matabeleland? Why has he not been saying it all along?” asked civic leader Dumisani Nkomo.
Nkomo said Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa had suggested that implementation of devolution was not a priority by claiming it would be a drain on the fiscus.
Presenting the 2018 National Budget statement last year, Chinamasa suggested to MPs to scrap the provision from the supreme law.
“Funding of the provincial and metropolitan structures, as set out in Chapter 14, Section 264 of the Constitution, is not sustainable and Political Parties represented in Parliament should in the future give consideration to amending the Constitution to lessen the burden on the fiscus,” Chinamasa said.
Zapu spokesperson Iphithule Maphosa said Mnangagwa was merely politicking.
“We can’t take him seriously on that. Mnangagwa has been addressing rallies since the November coup, never at any point did he commit to implementing Devolution as provided for in the Constitution.”