Under the new constitution, the central government must finance provincial tiers of government to the tune of 5% of the total national budget.
Since 2013 this provision has been ignored, in fact the government continues to undermine the implementation of devolution through illegal appointment of Provincial Ministers and a deliberate reluctance to pass enabling legislation. This as well is disrespectful.
Central government therefore owes lower tiers of government in excess of 1,2 billion dollars since the enactment of the new constitution in 2013.
To make matters worse, government related individuals including the Zanu PF provincial offices owe the City of Harare more than 11 million dollars in unpaid rates.
To then have a Minister of Finance who collects tax payer’s money and directs it to ill-conceived priorities and then ask the tax payers to fund themselves out of a disaster is an insult of the highest order. An attempt to donate by people who are guilty of habitual dereliction of duty is also an insult to the intelligence of the people of Zimbabwe.
We find the state’s habit of creating a turf war between the Ministry of Local Government and the local authorities to be suspicious. A responsible government must never issue central directives with no prior conversations with stakeholders in lower tiers of government.
We therefore suggest that the following be done:
- The arbitrary eviction of vendors be stopped forthwith.
- An inclusive and coordinated all stakeholders approach be adopted in combating the spread of cholera.
- Vendors must be engaged and assisted to practise hygienic methods of conducting their business.
- The state, its agencies and linked individuals must pay what they owe to the local authorities in the form of bills and rates.
- State interference in local authorities disguised as intervention must stop forthwith.
- Positive steps must be taken by central government to resource local authorities for purposes of capital formation especially regarding water and sanitation infrastructure.
- The government must implement devolution of power as provided in chapter 14 of the constitution to ensure equitable distribution of resources and ensure accurate prioritization of projects.
- Formal and decent jobs must be created to allow vendors to go back and pursue their dreams through provision of alternative careers and sources of income.
It must be accepted that the water and sanitation crisis in Zimbabwe is the sole source of diseases like typhoid and cholera.
We offer holistic solutions to the water crisis in Harare in the SMART policy document.
We make the point that failure to act on these and other issues now will result in infinite outbreaks, loss of life and unpalatable suffering of the Zimbabwean people.
MDC National Spokesperson