By Lloyd Takawira
The intention by government to take over council run clinics has been met with scepticism by residents arguing the move threatens devolution and fuels corruption.
Residents lobby group Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) slammed the move under the guise of having standardized service delivery by the National Development Strategy as a direct attack to devolution as provided for by the constitution of Zimbabwe.
“We warn that the takeover not only has implications on accountability but is a catalyst for corruption, strips local authorities of power and property to manage their own affairs which will have serious implications on primary health care provision.”
The residents said that the actions would render councils useless.
“The actions by the government takeover of functions of local authorities cannot be justified as this renders local authorities useless”.
According to CHRA, the move is a further attempt to exfoliate the drive towards devolution.
“We anticipated that the government should comply with its Devolution and Decentralization Policy of 2020 which assigns the government to the role of setting policy and standard frameworks, monitoring to facilitate oversight of the maintenance of standards and adherence, and provide capacity building to local authorities, with devolved State.
“Instead of taking over clinics, the government in the 2022 budget must ensure adequate and sufficient financial resources and improve the working conditions of its health care personnel”.
This comes after Minister of Health, Vice President Chiwenga hinted that government intends to take over local clinics.
Center-local relations in Zimbabwe have always been a cat and mouse situation.The central government has been accused of meddling into the functions of local authorities endangering the ability of councils to discharge their duties.
This is despite the constitution Amendment number 20 of 2013 on Section 276, recognizing the presence of local authorities and their right of self-governance and to manage the local affairs of the people within the area for which it has been established.