THE NEW STRUCTURAL ADJUSTMENT – Continued
Currently Zimbabwe has a total of 10 provinces, with 10 governors all of whom are chosen by the President. Some of the current crop of governors have been in-situ for almost 10 years or more and have overseen the decline of output and retreat of development in their provinces to the point that it would be pointless to keep them in place.
At ThinkZim we are putting forward a proposal for rebooting the provinces. A proposal which would remove the majority of the expense of running provinces from Central government and devolve it to the Provincial heads. It is an idea that sound crazy but perhaps this is its time, it is certainly an interesting idea from the point of view of democratising our country .
As Citizens we have to start thinking about a restructure of sorts that would see provinces become federated states and the districts therein becoming more aligned with the federated state rather than central government.
However for this to happen a number of other things need to occur.
- The roles of federated state governors and district councillors need to become recognised elected roles with 3-4 year terms possibly limited to 2 – 3 terms
- Legislation needs to be put in place dividing the roles of federated state and central government and devolving the necessary powers to the federated states whilst at the same time allowing central government to retain control of things like the military, policing, health and education frameworks and other national strategic functions and objectives that all states must comply with at a minimum.
- Revisions to the electoral legislation to allow for the incorporation of state governors and district councillors
- State elections are overseen by other states managed by central government, this is done to reduce electoral fraud
- A strong governance and oversight framework would also have to be put in place to ensure that abuse of the system would be rapidly identified and tweaks to the system made where gaps are identified.
- Governors would be answerable to the Presidium, parliament and their local state constituents
- The governors state government would be made up of representatives from the districts within the state and they would have the power to censure the governor
- Central government policy could override state policy for the betterment of the nation as a whole
By doing this, the constituents of the federated states should expect and receive more effective representations and performance by their governors and district councillors. Political office holders more often than not are inclined to place men and women in roles based on their party affiliation, tribe, religion, ethnicity and familial relationships even if they lack the requisite intellectual, moral, and technical competence to get simple tasks done. Efficiency and consistency of delivery should extend beyond electoral party lines, and tribal boundaries. In other words by using the carrot (continued power, local and national prestige and development) and stick (the lack of development and loss of state elections) those in positions of federated state power will be more inclined to work for the betterment of their constituents rather than themselves.
The political structure of a federated state would look something like the diagram on the left. Where all the principal players would have had to be elected to those positions except for the traditional chiefs who for the most part would have inherited those positions.
To take this thinking further consider this, with devolution a significant chunk of the central governments salary bill would disappear into the federated states and it would be their responsibility. Currently the central government of Zimbabwe is the largest employer in the country though their employees receive some of the most depressed wages in the country, when they actually get paid. The state employees will be closer to the sources of income for their federated states and should have greater visibility of the states income and expenditure and as a result should be in a better position to whistle-blow on corruption and inefficiency as well as participate and contribute effectively to the growth and development of the federated state. An example of this could be that the state receives an annual health subsidy from central government to which from the states own coffers it must add in order to pay medical professional’s salaries and build the necessary infrastructure in order to meet the policy directives mandated by the State Secretary and his/her Minster of Health.
In other words the state must be run like a business, where the role of the governor and his team is to use the resources available in the state, be it tourism, agriculture, human capital, etc, to develop the state to the point that surpluses start being generated. The constituents are the shareholders and must demand satisfaction of the state governor by seeing health care, electrification and other such projects being implemented and delivered. Following on from this all of this will mean jobs and progress for the society. Which is where we all want to be.
Q&A with one of our readers
See our last episode on what else needs to change…