CONSTITUTIONAL and Parliamentary Affairs minister Eric Matinenga yesterday urged Zimbabweans to talk openly about the devolution of power to provinces saying there are “no scared cows” in the constitution-making process.
However, he said devolution of power should not be mistaken for secession from the country.
“Issues of devolution of power cannot be ignored and people should openly discuss them when crafting the new constitution,” Matinenga said.
“Devolution of power should not be mistaken with secession.”
Matinenga was in Bulawayo to drum up support for the constitution-making process that has been stalled by financial constraints.
He said the current 1979 constitution agreed at the Lancaster House talks should be replaced soon as it was a colonial document.
The constitution has been amended 19 times since the country’s Independence in 1980 and critics say most of the changes have only helped to entrench President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF’s stranglehold on power.
Participants at the meeting said there was need for devolution of power as that empowers everyone.
“Devolution of power is long overdue in Zimbabwe and it should not be taken as a new phenomenon,” said one participant It is pronounced worldwide. That is the only way to empower certain communities which for now are not benefiting from natural resources.”
Participants said the call for the devolution of power should not be taken as a Matabeleland issue because it would benefit every province.
Several leaders from the region said it had lagged behind in development yet it is endowed with several natural resources.
On whether the global political agreement timeframe for the crafting of the new constitution would be met, Matinenga said the parliamentary select constitutional committee is “performing badly”.
“The three principals are also concerned on the delays and they are discussing the possibility of extending the timeframe without going to parliament,” said Matinenga.
Outreach programmes are set to commence on January 4 but the 560 people earmarked to collect information were still to be trained, the minister said.