Learner’s Submission: Case Study of Decentralization in Zimbabwe

“The Zimbabwean government defined decentralization as the process of transferring planning, management responsibilities, resources, and authority and or accountability arrangements from the central to sub-national or local organs of governance. Decentralization can take different forms the dispersal of central government responsibilities through de-concentration or field administration or the delegation of specialized authority to manage executive agencies to a management team or via devolution of responsibilities, human and fiscal resources to locally governing bodies that are semi-autonomous from the national government, normally referred to as local authorities or government. In 1995, the Zimbabwean government initiated the Water Resources Management Strategy in order to introduce reforms within the water sector. The Water Resource Management Strategy process, initiated in 1995 and completed in 2000, resulted in a new national Water Policy and a National Water Pricing Policy and Strategy. The reforms within the water sector were designed to reflect key Integrated Water Resource Management principles, including stakeholder participation, decentralization, and making resources available for water development and water management. The overall goal of the National Water Resources Policy is to promote the sustainable, efficient and integrated utilization of water resources for the benefit of all Zimbabweans. Under decentralization, the government of Zimbabwe delegated the authority of water management to councils, councils had to develop water outline plans, issue permits, regulate water use and perform other water-related activities as required by the central government. The Catchment Councils delegate some activities to the Sub-Catchment Councils, although these activities do not include allocating water permits.

Under this, the Zimbabwean government had to allocate the Ministry of Rural Resources and Infrastructural Development as the custodian of water rights and develops policies on water development and Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA)  which acts as an operator and a regulator. ZINWA is responsible for water supply to urban centres, while the municipalities supply water to smaller urban settlements. Rural water supply and sanitation is coordinated by the National Action Committee for Water and Sanitation, which is an inter-ministerial committee chaired by the Minister of Local Government .The seven Catchment Councils established under the Zimbabwe National Water Authority Act are responsible for all aspects of water management within their responsive catchment areas. However, this has seen the management of water as a resources not being centrally managed. Authority has been given to sub governmental units and the councils to manage the water. With such decentralization, councils can engage the community in managing the water and in decision making regarding water issues. ” – Soul Nyangoni – Harare, Zimbabwe

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