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 Opinion / Columnist              

 by Themba Mthethwa
30 Aug 2014 at 05:54hrs | 2260 Views

The ZAPU model of governance by devolution of power is a people centred approach.  

This is the second series of the four part series explaining the ZAPU model of devolution of power. In the first installment I explained how ZAPU devolution of power can deal with the legacy of colonialism and the current negative tribal perspectives in Zimbabwe. In this second series, I have attempted to tackle the pertinent questions of what to devolve, where to devolve and how to devolve.

 The principal goal of the Zimbabwean liberation struggle was the total removal of racial and tribal discrimination, subjugation, exploitation and oppression of black people of Zimbabwe by the then colonial settlers. The fight for independence of Zimbabwe was the fight to reclaim the dignity of people of all races, respect of human rights, equality of rights and freedoms irrespective of their political affiliation, creed or colour.

All human rights are inseparable, such as the right to life, equality before the law and freedom of expression; economic, social and cultural rights, rights to work, social security, education and collective rights (rights to development and self-determination), are indivisible, interrelated and interdependent. The improvement of one right facilitates the advancement of the other rights. Likewise, the deprivation of one right adversely affects the others.

The ZAPU  model of governance by devolution  offers the best alternative form of governance, it  is people centred; promotes and protects all human rights and fundamental freedoms, regardless of political affiliations, economic and social status, ethnic and cultural background.

The ZAPU model of devolution of power makes use of local assets, human and natural resources to enhance the ability of local communities and the general population to maintain and sustain social and economic development through the concept of localism.  Local communities are in charge of their local resources and transform them for their own social and economic development.

The ZAPU devolution guarantees a constitutional transfer of political and administration powers from central government to autonomous regional legislative assemblies headed by elected premiers contrary to ZANU PF approach of imposing leaders on people and centralizing all the power.

The ZAPU devolution of power model will devolve full political powers into five regions, namely Mashonaland, Midlands, Manicaland, Matabeleland and Masvingo. Each of the five devolved provinces will have their own parliament namely the provincial parliament of Mashonaland, provincial parliament of Midlands, provincial parliament of Manicaland, provincial parliament of Masvingo and provincial parliament of Matabeleland.  This concept of devolution is successful in South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, United States of America and India.

A ZAPU government will devolve power to provincial legislatures using the principle of devomax. Devomax simply means maximum devolution. ZAPU devomax therefore refers to maximum level of autonomy for provincial legislatures in the exercise of political, social and economic administration of their affairs. This means that all service ministries in Zimbabwe that are currently run by ZANU PF centralised government will be devolved by ZAPU to regional assemblies bar international relations; security and defense.

The powers of the provincial governments will be bound by the national constitution, which limits them to listed functional areas. The constitution will outline a principle of co-operative government whereby the various layers of government  coordinate their actions and legislative duties;  lay down a series of rules for resolving conflicts between national and provincial legislation (the lower levels of governance) or within  the same levels of governance structures.  Provincial legislatures will remain subordinate to the national assembly and the people they represent. The constitution will spell out how much and how far authority and responsibility can be devolved to lower levels of governance. The view is that devomax depends on ideology of individual parties while for some parties' delegation or decentralization is big enough devolution. It is essential to note that the ZAPU model of devolution is not just to aid efficient administration of the government structures, but it is an ideological concept which seeks to change the political landscape of the country to aid fairness and eliminate injustices by encouraging genuine political participation at grassroots.

 The following  is a hypothec example of responsibilities that can be devolved to regional assemblies on the basis of devomax: health and social care; primary law making (byelaws); education and training;  local government, settlements, service delivery, housing and  local environment; planning social and economic infrastructure;  tourism, sport and recreation, museums, cultural heritage; languages, equality and diversity; local economic development , industry and commerce; internal transport and vehicle licensing;  community broadcasting both television and radio; provincial energy, fuel and power supply, mines and mining; agriculture and  food production

The central government will usually retain certain core powers such as the  national constitution; provincial affairs and judiciary; international relations & foreign policy; defense  and national security ; nationality and immigration; national policing, public order  and correctional services; information and national broadcasting; national finance, tax system and monetary & economic policy planning; public services and employment planning and employment creation. Of importance here is the realization that many of these under ZAPU model of devolution will be partly devolved to regions such some aspects of nationality and immigration; tax system, policing, etc.

ZAPU believes that the principle of devolution of power creates a more accurate reflection of public aspirations, opinions and wishes, and gives opportunities for wider participation in politics, social and economic development. This system is a key factor in negotiations on the constitution, checks and balances. It is also designed to address the mistrust among the country's ethnic, tribal, racial and religious groups on issues of recognition, marginalisation and discrimination in economic and social development projects. The ZAPU devolution model heralds a significant shift in the way communities are governed free from rigid bureaucratic structures and a lack of understanding of how to engage local communities.

The case for a ZAPU devolved model of governance offers the prospect and means of giving different provinces autonomy and control over their local affairs. Under the ZAPU devolution model, people will feel more secure and willing to accept the authority and legitimacy of the larger national state. The survival of democracy cannot be winner takes all system.  ZAPU believes its devolution of power model offers political parties that would not have won national elections an opportunity to assume and exercise power in some lower levels of governance and the central government. This system is therefore inclusive because it provides all political groups a share of political power at any level of governance.

The ZAPU devolution embraces and enhances the depth and legitimacy of democracy. Devolution of power is a global approach to democratic principles. ZAPU believes it is not enough for people to choose their national leaders in periodic elections without recognizing people's democratic participation and political power at lower levels of governance. With the ZAPU model of devolution, local communities have the advantage of adopting approaches that best suit their local needs, cultural preservation, and political structures.

The ZAPU devolution model provides better quality of service delivery premised on local management centred on community priorities by the communities themselves ensuring that local community projects and budgets are better targeted at community needs and priorities.  The focus is the emphasis on outcomes for citizens rather than outputs for bureaucrats. The ZAPU devolution model presents the opportunity for enhanced community participation and partnerships by strengthening the role of elected leaders whose mandate is influenced by the needs and aspirations of local people.

The ZAPU model of devolution begins at the current level of the community or region's capacity and moving towards an asset approach where the communities begin to think of new ways of going forward.  
It gives ownership to local people of their social and economic development, based on the principles of appreciating self-help and mobilising human and material resources for a common cause on the principle of self-starter and community motivation for identified needs and goals. ZAPU devolution builds on appreciative inquiry which identifies and analyses the existing strengths for the community by instilling confidence in their own capacities and inspiring them to take action to fulfill their socio-economic needs.

 There you get it, having a parliament at your province. 

  Source - Themba Mthethwa

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