Communities from Zaka and Gutu, who are part of Heal Zimbabwe Community Accountability Action Teams (CAATs), have raised concern over the lack of transparency on the way devolution is being rolled out. This came out during a dialogue meeting organised by two CAATs that operate in Gutu and Zaka as part of commemorations for the International Day of Rural Women on 15 October 2020.
Participants at the dialogue highlighted that they have only read in the press that devolution funds were already disbursed and that communities had already started the identification of development projects yet in Zaka there was no consultation or feedback meetings on how devolution was being rolled out."We have only read about devolution projects in the press and yet we have not been consulted. The Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing has not raised awareness as a way of enhancing participation by the citizens," said one participant. Participants also highlighted that devolution is a constitutional provision voted for by thousands of Zimbabwe during the 2013 referendum and yet the same citizens do not own and participate effectively in the process." Devolution is provided for in Section 264 of the constitution and yet the people who voted for it are being excluded from the process, government must do more to ensure that they raise awareness on devolution and task communities to identify their own unique development projects to be undertaken under devolution. This helps to ensure that communities take ownership of the process and participate effectively," said another participant.
As part of resolutions, the dialogue meeting resolved that the CAATs were supposed to convene a meeting with representatives from the Rural District Councils (RDCs) so that they shed more light on their plan of action on devolution. The meeting will also be attended by Traditional leaders and Councillors who are the local level Local Government structures responsible for development and ensuring that citizens participate actively in devolution through structures such as Village Development Committees (VIDCOs) and Ward Development Committees (WADCOs). The dialogue meetings by CAATs are one among many interventions by Heal Zimbabwe to strengthen capacity of citizens to uphold participation, inclusion, transparency, accountability and responsiveness principles and mechanisms. Such interventions help build peaceful and socially cohesive communities.
Source: Heal Zimbabwe Trust