ZIMBABWE – The opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has started electing shadow Members of Parliament, a provincial council and councillors in Bulawayo, as it moves to strengthen its structures and operationalise the concept of devolution of power.
PDP Bulawayo spokesperson, Fortune Mlalazi said the programme was aimed at ensuring the party had strong structures ahead of the 2018 general elections.
“As a province we are embarking on electing and installing shadow councillors in all the city’s wards. Also shadow MPs and provincial council members will be elected. This is part of a broader national programme and Bulawayo is spearheading it. Other provinces would do the same,” he said.
Former Finance minister Tendai Biti leads PDP.
Mlalazi said for each ward to have a shadow councillor, it should have more than 500 people in its structures.
Opposition parties and civil society have accused the Zanu PF government of deliberately delaying the swearing-in of provincial councils to perpetuate its centralised governance system, although the new Constitution recognises devolution of power.
Since the adoption of the new Constitution, government has been reluctant to enact enabling legislation to operationalise devolution, as enshrined in section 273 of the Constitution.
The section reads: “An Act of Parliament must make provision, consistent with this chapter, for the establishment and functions of provincial and metropolitan councils.”
The issue of devolution generated a lot of controversy and almost derailed the constitution-making process as Zanu PF officials sought to block it.