By A Correspondent- Members of Parliament have demanded that they be allowed control over use of devolution funds in accordance with the Constitution in order to enhance accountability and transparency by local authorities.
The issue was raised in Parliament by Norton MP Temba Mliswa (Independent) last Thursday, where he said corruption was rampant within local authorities, hence the need for proper monitoring and evaluation of the devolution funds and resources allocated.
He said failure to properly implement devolution resulted in the former late President Robert Mugabe being forced out of power.
Mliswa said section 264 of the Constitution stipulated that there should be transfer of responsibilities and resources from central government to provincial councils, but the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No 2) bill sought to exclude MPs from overseeing usage of the devolution funds.
“The biggest game changer in this country is devolution, but the monies are not being monitored according to the Constitution because the provincial councils are not in place,” he said.
“This is also one of the reasons that led Mugabe out of power. It was because of the issue of devolution and that he was not following the Constitution.
“Mr Speaker Sir, I do not know how best we can deal with this, but it has become a source of corruption in a big way. The local authorities as you would appreciate have been the talk of poor service delivery, yet money is going there through the very same tenets of the Constitution. Your guidance and ruling is critical because we cannot as Parliament sit and watch the law not being followed.”
Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda said Constitutional Amendment (No 2) bill would soon be tabled before the National Assembly to address the challenges raised by Mliswa.
Mudenda said Finance minister Mthuli Ncube had already acknowledged the need for a legal framework to be in place in order to ensure that devolved funds were accounted for in terms of the structures that would be in place.
“Indeed, there has been some conversation between the Minister of Local Government and Public Works (July Moyo), as well as the Minister of Finance and Economic Development (Mthuli Ncube) in consultation with the Attorney-General (Prince Machaya),” Mudenda said.-Newsday