MP Sipepa Nkomo lodges legal bid for devolution

The Supreme Court buildings in Harare

The Supreme Court buildings in Harare

By Nomalanga Moyo
SW Radio Africa
03 April 2014

Lobengula MDC-T MP Samuel Sipepa-Nkomo has lodged a Constitutional Court bid to force Mugabe’s government to comply with the constitution on devolution.

In his petition filed last week, Nkomo wants the government to decentralise power from Harare to provincial levels, to enable all citizens to set their own priorities.

He also argues that government’s non-compliance is preventing him from fully dispensing his duties as the representative for the Lobengula Constituency.

“Devolution is central in the part of the country I come from and in the constituency I represent. I was chosen to represent my constituency which expects me to serve in the Bulawayo Metropolitan Council and represent its interests.

“I want to serve in this important institution so that it can perform and execute its developmental roles as defined by the constitution. This is where we are supposed to make decisions, together with Bulawayo councillors, about what is of importance to the city and how to take the city forward,” Nkomo said.

But this council doesn’t exist because the government is delaying its formation as required by the new charter.

Nkomo therefore wants the ConCourt to force Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo, Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa and the government, to put in place legal institutions necessary for the formation of such councils.

Chombo is responsible for the administration of the Provincial Councils and Administration Act, while Mnangagwa handles legal matters for the government including the Constitution and Bills.

Speaking on SW Radio Africa’s Big Picture programme on Thursday, Nkomo said devolution was one of the highlights of the constitution-making process last year.

“It was very popular as Zimbabweans across the country looked forward to at last managing their own affairs at local level. That is why I think this government should have made this issue a priority and this court case is to try and force them to listen to the people,” the legislator said.

MDC President Professor Welshman Ncube, whose party has been very vocal in campaigning for devolution, said the issue is about self-governance as much as freedom.

“It is an important issue for everyone who cares about freedoms, independence and the liberties of the people and their right to self-determination.

“Devolution is also about the economic development of each and every village, district and province. The aim of this liberating philosophy is to transfer power into the hands of people at local level to determine their own developmental affairs,” the MDC leader told SW Radio Africa.

Ncube commended MP Nkomo for applying pressure on ZANU PF to respect the law and said such steps were important to ensure that the “regime is exposed to its violations of the country’s constitution”.

The MDC leader said the reluctance by the ruling party to align all laws to the new constitution stemmed from ZANU PF’s tradition of governing by force.

Innocent Ndibali, leader of the Zimbabwe Unemployed People’s Association, said implementing devolution will also ensure that local communities will be given first preference to jobs in their provinces.



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