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

Learner’s Submission: Decentralized Governance in Cameroon – The Case of Kumba


“Kumba is a city located in the southwest region of Cameroon. It has a population of about 166,331 and the most populated in its department. Since Cameroon has 10 regions, 58 divisions, 269 subdivision, 54 districts; Kumba falls under the Meme division and it’s the chief town in the Division. Since the 2004 law was passed on decentralization in Cameroon, there had been some major changes in Cameroon which also affected the town of Kumba. These major changes can be analyzed base on the things which has been done and things not yet implemented in the town of Kumba.

Things which has been done
Kumba has a government delegate appointed by the head of State who is in charge of overseeing the activities of the council and gives feedbacks to the president. Kumba at first had just one council which was known as the Kumba urban council. With the changes made on the level of the central government, the name was change to Kumba city council. Kumba has three councils; Kumba one council, Kumba two and Kumba three council. The Kumba city council is autonomous and makes her revenue form tax collection, aids and other contributions from the government. This is an impact of decentralized governance in the town of Kumba.

Based on the economic aspect, the Kumba locality has been able to develop cooperation with the private, public and foreign sectors for the development of Kumba. The first government delegate received foreign aids with which he joins with the resource of the council to restructure the town. The major changes which were been made were the construction of new market buildings for proper market delivery and goods purchasing. This aspect brought more trust to the local population who gave praise to the decentralized form of governance. The cleaning up of the town was made on a daily bases to ensure that, the effect of waste matters should not affect the local community. In this light, several vehicles to facilitate this service were provided by the central government in collaboration with the council and private sector. Community halls were also constructed. This is to facilitate the holding of meeting among the officials of the
central governments, local officials and the community leaders. Whenever important projects came up, the opinion of the community had to be considered, and their contribution had to be taken in to consideration. This aspect is to facilitate the participation of the local community in decisions taking.

One of the impact of decentralization which is also visible in the town of Kumba, is the fact that there are street lights every where. When you leave from the economic capital Douala to Kumba, the beauty of the road is clear and evident. When entering the town of Kumba, especially at night, the street lights are so bright and clear. The roads are well marked and the tares used on the road are first class. This was not the case of this town before.

The promotion of the creation of schools and vocational training centers are encouraged. There are several secondary and primary schools located in the area, and several vocational centres for training and developing the skills of community members. Although the above things have been done, there are still a lot of things which are still yet to be achieved.

Things not yet done
There are several things still yet to be done but just a few of them will be discussed. The human resource aspect has not been effective. There are limited human resource managers or personals in the area. Mostly, local officials play the role of human personals which are hardly effective. Most at times, this had lead to placing incompetent people where competency is needed. This aspect to an extent has slowed down some of the things which were to be done. Human resource has to do with a lot of capacity building. Most of the people are not trained personnel.

The absence of an official evaluation community made up of both the local community and officials is not yet visible. Individuals of low status or portfolio need to be brought to participate in the evaluation committee.

There is the need of more health centers in the area; there are more schools than health centers. If people are not healthy how can they work effectively? There is need for more health centres to cater for the health of the growing population.

There some areas where the roads leading toward the out skirt of Kumba which are deplorable and have no street lights. This area leads to the other subdivisions like Mbonge; it has no lighting system other than generator which is supplied to specific houses. These areas are poor and need also to be considering a priority.

The implementation of decentralization in local communities are processes which need time and resources, but on the other hand if priority needs are not attained to, like putting in place a human resource mechanism even in the local community, manifestation of the implementation could take longer then expected.” – Ngole Mbong Ice Lyle – Yaoundé, Cameroon

Learner’s Submission: Decentralized Governance in Kenya



“Decentralization” is an ambiguous and broadly used concept, and the definition varies across countries In this article decentralization is defined as “devolution” of power and competence to independent governments below the central government level, which are given responsibilities (typically within certain levels and ceilings) for determining the level and quality of services to be provided, the manner in which those services will be provided, and the source and the size of funds to finance the delivery of those services.

Decentralization is seen as a gradual process. It takes different forms, including political decentralization (transfer of decision-making power to lower-level, politically elected bodies) and fiscal decentralization (assignment of functions and transfers of power within financing). It might take place within a specific sector or be integrated (multi-sectoral) as transfers of power to multi-purpose authorities, and between actors within each country. Decentralization by devolution is the declared policy of decentralization and this is clearly also emphasized in the newly adopted Constitution in Kenya. From a historical perspective, decentralization has been introduced for various reasons: to answer the problems experienced with centralized/concentrated systems of service provision, to get political support, to achieve improved efficiency in resource allocation, to bring decisions closer the citizens, to improve governance and accountability, to improve equity and rural development, to improve the development and strengthen poverty reduction. But the design of decentralized systems, and many contextual factors, impact on the possibilities of achieving these objectives.

In Kenya, the basic area for discussions are called “local authorities” (LAs) local governments (LGs), defined as the levels of government below the central government, which are accountable to local populations through some kind of an electoral process.

Kenya Country Governance Profile – Fact Sheet


Issue Facts
Population 28.7 Million (1999)
Size of the territory (surface Km2) 580,400 Km2
Governance system Multi-party (strongly dominated by two parties)
Layers of government 2 layers Central government and LAsParallel system of provincial and district administrations
Number of local governments with legislative power 175
Average size of the upper layer of LG 163,923

Local Governments (LGs), in Kenya have very limited service delivery mandates unlike in other neighboring countries like Tanzania and Uganda where major service provision responsibilities are devolved to LGs.

Extent of Devolution of Key Sector Responsibilities to LGs in Kenya

Sector Extent of Devolution of responsibilities to Local Governments
Health No major role by local government –mainly taken by Ministry of Health
Education Minor role, seven of the major LG are designated as education authorities, the remaining LG’s play no major role in provision of Education services
Water Largely centralized with Ministry of environment and natural resources, National Water conservation and pipeline corporation. However in some LG’s operate water boards
Roads No major role for Local Government, centralized with creation of Roads Boards, only few LG’s have recently been appointed as roads sub agent
Agriculture No major role for Local Government

Kenya has since the mid-1990s initiated an incremental reform of LGs that, foremost, has focused on improving the fiscal aspects of LGs without, to date, substantial legal reforms. However, as part of the New Constitutional Review, much wider and very radical proposals related to decentralization reform has been debated and crafted into the new constitution which was adopted recently. The draft Constitution was endorsed and It proposes a radical devolution of powers to a LG system based on three tiers: regional, district and location. With the adoption of the new Constitution, it has signaled the start of a comprehensive decentralization programme based on devolution. In anticipation, the Ministry of Local Government is currently in the process of drafting various LG laws and amendments.

In Kenya, the current legal framework of LGs is widely recognized as in need of reform. The existing parallel system for local-level service delivery gives no clear mandate to LGs for the provision of key services. Instead, the various sectors and the deconcentrated administrations are given the main responsibility. Studies, confirmed by the field visits, have indicated that this not only leads to duplication and poor local governance, as citizens cannot hold government accountable at the local level for local level service delivery, but it also entails a waste of public resources and an ineffective provision of services.

The Adopted Constitution proposes a radical reform in support of devolution to LGs. Although the new Constitution has been criticised for being too complex, as it suggests the introduction of a three tier LG system, where only the second tier (the districts) have well defined mandates for service delivery. The implementation of the proposed transition towards a devolved system will certainly be very challenging – and possibly painful.  Previous structures for deconcentrated service delivery will have to be abolished; staff employed by sector ministries will have to be transferred to local governments, if they are to undertake their new functions. Modalities for sufficient (discretionary) funding need to be developed. The transfer scheme, LATF, has generated substantial experiences that can form the basis for further reforms.

The most critical aspects will probably be:

Clear assignment of specific responsibilities to the different new LGs, in line with the broad guidance of the new Constitution and considering factors like linkages between the size of the government units and the type of services to be provided, links between the services, economies of scale, possibilities for citizens’ participation and accountability, political representation, closeness, etc; Reform of key sectors along the lines stipulated in the new Constitution, with the active and constructive involvement of sector ministries;  Development of a system for balancing the new transferred functions, with properly assigned revenues to LGs, .Development of a decentralized system for management of personnel that guarantees meaningful local accountability of staff, while at the same time safeguarding the interests of personnel in terms of career development prospects and job security.” – Bareto Tieng’o – Tanga, Tanzania

Learner’s Submission: Decentralization in India – Solid Waste Management


“Bangalore has been in International News recently, not for its Tech-parks but for its haphazard waste management. Streets and lanes completely littered throughout, Localities surrounding the landfill have refused consent to use the Landfill. The Contractors using the Landfills have not helped the situation by not agreeing to take steps to reduce the bad odors that emanates from the Garbage being carried by compactors and Lorries. Resident Welfare Associations, Community compost pits have been already pushed to limits in terms of capacity and Fears of growing number of Dengue, Chikungunya and malaria have made the Municipal administrator’s task hopeless and tough. There has been talk of bringing in a old-school administrator, Mr. Siddaiah, who was previously shunted out following his rigorous measures to curb corruption in Contracts and tendering processes.

For the purpose of this case-study I have referred to reports released by BBMP (Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palika), Municipal Body, responsible for administering Bangalore City. The reports referred to – 4th Quarterly report for financial year 2011-12, Solid Waste Management Rules released post notification of rules, FAQs released by BBMP for Solid Waste Management Awareness programme aimed towards Citizens, Details of Waste Collection and Infrastructure/ arrangements made for the purpose. All of the above reports are accessible through BBMP website – http://www.bbmp.gov.in.

A status report based on BBMP master Plan document 2008, Infrastructure for ‘Municipal Solid Waste’ management covers 800 sq. km, 78,000,000 populations (2009), and estimates garbage generation of 3000 tons per day, 350 grams per day per capita. The physical composition of garbage tabulated, with Vegetable, Organic and Plastic on higher range 0.12 to 0.30 out of total index of 1.00 (i.e.; 12% to 30% of total). Chemical composition shows 13% – 40.60% of carbon, 13.80% – 40.90% of moisture, bulk density varying 341 – 491 and calorific Value varying 684.00 – 1240.00. The status report reveals, 70% of municipal solid waste primary collections to disposal have been contracted out, While 30% is being handled through BBMP staff. 4300 sweepers are designated municipal staff and 10000 sweepers are contracted through contractors for door-to-door collection and manual sweeping. While residents of ‘Very Important Persons’ get their surroundings cleaned by mechanical trucks and machines, ordinary citizens get their roads and surroundings cleaned manually by the hired sweepers, the report confesses. The non-segregation of waste is highlighted and used to justify non-segregation at the end disposal stage. Corporate companies contracted for integrated management of municipal solid waste are known to have a total processing capacity of 3600 tons according to the report. Depolymerization technology, use of GPS (global Positioning System), Use of recyclable waste in asphalting of roads are also mentioned.

In area of rajarajeshwarinagara, a total collection varies in between 50% to 70%. The problem of non-segregation is highlighted prominently through a separate heading ‘Mixed Wastes’. The FAQs report has a series of questions which are answered and gives the definition of different categories of wastes. Definitions are very helpful to citizens, as they assist in appropriate segregation at source. The protocol for segregations includes, prominently. Labeling of waste, literally ‘mark menstrual pads and sanitary wastes with a ‘red cross’ after putting it in a newspaper fold’. The Animal poop is to be covered in old paper and labeled by ‘red cross’ on the top, same should be done for loose stools also. Now how many are enthusiastic enough to label their menstrual pads, dog poop, loose stools before discarding? The FAQs also suggests washing up carton boxes and jars, so as to keep it dry of food/organic material, which may attract vermin/pests. A practice that is not yet reconciled with by the majority among the city folk here.

The municipal administration has through sincere commitments to Indian courts and to citizens has undertaken the task of solid waste management with due earnest. Problems however remain in terms of lack of expertise or specialization of the contractors, lack of appropriate technology among the involved companies/contractors, lack of requisite knowledge or skill to ensure clean/Eco-friendly disposal of solid waste. The shortcomings of the contractors and companies involved in solid waste management have brought disrepute to the municipal administration and efforts are on, as far as media reports suggest, correcting the shortcomings. Implementation is partial because of reluctant citizen participation in few places, with time the citizens will cooperate, is our hope.” – Anil Dev Gopalakrishna – Karnataka, India

Learner’s Submission: A Case Study on Decentralization in India – Kuthambakkam


“Decentralization of governance has been proved as a shining feather in hat of democracy through various examples all over the world. Introduction of Panchyat Raj system in India under the Prime Ministership of Rajiv Gandhi has successfully created self-governing villages in various parts of India. Locally elected body at village level (known as Gram Panchyat) were authorised for village governance. The head of Gram Panchyat was termed as Sarpanch.

An ordinary man with extra ordinary vision named Rangaswamy Elango was living in a village called Kuthambakkam which is about 40km from Chennai in Tamil Nadu. Kuthambakkam has a population of 5000 people, around 1040 households which were consisting of 70 hamlets. This village consist of both higher caste and lower cast (termed as Dalits). Previously, Dalits were treated as untouchables and were unaccepted in society. Also village was facing issues like poverty, violence inflicted on the lower castes, widespread illicit brewing, illiteracy and unhygienic living conditions.

R Elango was of the opinion that village with such a condition can never be home to someone. Governing structure till date was failing to improve the situation of Kuthambakkam. Elango realised the potential of decentralised governance system and decided upon exploring it for the betterment of his village. He organised a group of village youths and started working over the issues prevailing in village. But this intervention didn’t give him a substantial base to bring about the change. Panchyat Raj legislation brought perfect opportunity for him. He opted for Gram Panchyat election and became the Sarpanch of Kuthambakkam. He mastered all government schemes available for a village in India and avail them for Kuthambakkam. His aim was to put local self-governance to generate local level opportunities for villagers. He was of the opinion that in order to bring an effective local self-governance, unity is of primary importance. Realising this fact, he brought in the concept of “Samathuvapuram” (The Harmony Estates), which means getting different caste & religion people to live together in same campus. The house was structured in such a way that it was partitioned in two blocks, one partition would be occupied by upper caste family and other by a lower caste family. Thus he planned to bring unity and harmony in village. He made sure that local soil and materials should be put to used for construction, also the villagers themselves did the construction work. This methodology made sure that village income stays in village and also generate opportunities for villagers.

Elango was a Gandhian follower and believed in production for people by people. Also his idea was to generate concept of entrepreneurship and self-governance among the villagers. Initially village was dependent on Chennai for its basic requirements; also the raw village produce was sold in Chennai market and nearby villages. This was creating a scenario of dependency of Kuthambakkam on others. Transforming this existing situation was a hercules task, which Mr Elango addressed effectively by introducing community based start-ups like dairies, cottage industries, small production units etc. Varity of goods such as kerosene stoves, first aid kits, soaps and eco-friendly bags were produced in village. These village governed industries were set up with a view to engage people in profitable economic activity, generate a sense of unity and ultimately empower them.

In a period of 5 years Mr R Elango with armour of local self-governance proved that even a local level governing body can make a huge difference in such a short span of time. This is a perfect example to prove benefits of decentralised governance. Elango was invited to different nations to deliver talks on local self-governance. Currently he is assisting various government agencies for effective implementation of the concept of decentralized governance.” – Mithilesh D Kandalkar – Orissa, India

Learner’s Submission: Decentralization, a Pakistani Prospective


“In human history, since the beginning, the centralized/bureaucratic government structure was considered an effective tool for ruling the country and governing the organizations. The centralized development approach believed in rule of thumb and vested powers in the king or the sovereign. With the passage of time, history observed the paradigm shift and unitary form of Government failed to ensure development in the way it was theorized. In the 70 and 80s decades of last century, the most productive concept, i.e. “decentralization”, emerged. Its goal was to enhance administrative and economic efficiency; improve implementation of development programmes and a greater degree of responsiveness to local needs of the people as well as of the society.

Decentralized form of government gives empowerment to the masses and ensures their participation in formulation of policies for their country. Some of the political authors are of the opinion that democracy and local governance are indispensable to each other.

Now the question is if the above mentioned hypothesis is true for Pakistan.

Here in our country, there is a great debate over the effectiveness of old colonial commissioner system vs. local government system. Unfortunately decentralization in Pakistan was introduced by the military dictators and they mostly utilized the system to fulfill their ulterior motives and for completion of their own agendas.

First it was Field Marshal Ayub Khan, who on 7 October 1958 imposed the Martial Law, and latter introduced the local government system with the name of Basic Democracy (BD). Majority of political scientist believes that the overall purpose of Basic Democracy system was to have a pool of 8,000 elected representatives of the people, who were under the direct control of the president. Just after one month of their selection, in February 1962, these electorate were subsequently used and influenced by Mr. Ayob for his selection as president of Pakistan; else he was not able to defeat the than contester Ms. Fatima Jinnah, the  sister of Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan.

The second example is of Pervez Musharraf, who introduced the “Local Government Ordinance 2001”. The main motive behind the law was to bypass the political forces and to legitimize his illegal military regime. This came into being in the shape of “presidential referendum” which had no base in the constitution at all.

It is evident that the whole local government machinery was utilized and even the question that was put to the people for referendum was “Will you vote for the survival of the local government system, would you like to elect President General Pervez Musharraf as President of Pakistan for five years?”

As a result, in 2008, when new elections were held in the country and Musharraf was forced to leave the country. With the end of his regime, discussion about his local government started by different stakeholders and none of the province was ready to own his system.

This system was marked failed due to the following reasons:

  • DCOs (District Coordination Officers, the Head of Administrative machinery of a District in Pakistan) and other bureaucratic machinery are naturally against local government system, as they never ever like to be under the control of others;
  • Members of the parliament, including provincial member dislike it as per this system, mostly the developmental funds goes through the elected local Government representative;
  • Political parties dislike it for being a remnant of a dictator regime;
  • During the Musharraf regime, the law and order situation, as well the prices of daily utilities were rise by leaps and bounds. Common people are of the opinion that the than local government system is for behind in prompt response compared to commissioner system.
  • Even the political parties accept or reject the local government system based on their political motives. Karachi example can be quoted where MQM (Muttahida Quami Movement, a political party having strong existence in Sindh Pakistan) is in its favor, whereas ANP (Awami National Party, a political party of Pakistan) asking for its abolition and restoration of old commissioner system.” – Hamad Khan – Punjab, Pakistan

Learner’s Submission: Decentralization in Togo


“Togo central government has realized the need to embark on a decentralization policy to seek opinions, contributions and effective participation of all the populations to it development.
It was then designed a constitutional and legal framework that have been amended at the National Assembly. The ministry in charge of territorial affairs has been structured and charged with situation analysis and policy formulation and choice as well as the implementation and control measures.

With the assistance of foreign embassies and United Nations agencies, a technical adviser was recruited for piloting the APRODEC programme « Appui au Processus de décentralisation au Togo ». It is co-financed by the central government and its partners. Decentralization programmes have been strongly present in the Ministry of administration and territorial affairs, of decentralization and local collectivity, as the new denomination of the Ministry could demonstrate.

Togo has been subdivided into 5 economic régions (régions des savanes, régions de la Kara, régions centrale, région des plateaux, région maritime), each one with it’s center represented by the biggest city. Each region is also subdivided into prefecture administered by a prefect. The prefect is nominated by the President of the Republic of Togo, following advice of the Minister of Territorial Administrations Affairs, and of decentralization and local collectivity. The prefect has the responsibility to assure security and order, the delegation is given to him to sign administrative papers, such as birth and death certificate, conduct weddings.

There are actually 35 prefectures and 1 under-prefecture. A prefecture is in fact a group together of several district of the same locality. New districts are formed once villages developed. It is also know as a community of medium exercise. A district is an administrative subdivision composed by villages. From some years now the Chief of the district is nominated by the president after popular consultation through small elections. For now it is tested only on the northern areas that are supposed to be state party elective zone and where there is less probability of revendications to raise. That was not always been the way to appoint chiefs, in the years back it was a family succession (inheritance), and this still continues in some major zone of the southern part of the Country. The district chief is the representative of the central government, and has responsibility to advise on administrative problems, and assume traditional court with its note worthies. They are all selected by the chief district himself as its team. They are most of the time, community elder’s and retired civil personnel.

The way as a prefecture is all group together of districts, in urban zone an all group together of cities is administered by a Mayor, assisted by its advisers. The Mayor has same authority and responsibility as a prefect but also entitled of devolution to plan certain project in favor of the community. The district has a treasury that could be use to finance community projects such as Markets, cemeteries, community’s streets. It’s called a community of full exercise.

The difference between a commune of full exercise and that of medium exercise lies in the powers been delegated to them and the title of they administrators. There has been some delocalisation of some public services to the regions in the field of security, legislations, health, utilities, tax paying agencies. In fact all regions has if not a Gendarmerie or a police brigade and some even host military camps. There is in all regions central tax paying agencies which are in charge of tax collection and statistic and fiscality for those regions. But unfortunately local authorities do not have any devolution to plan budget and all taxes paid goes to the center and allocations are made to communities’ base on the annual country’s budget. There is for all centers of regions a CHR (centre hospitalier regional) in charge of administrations of public health services.

Their incapacity to serve all the populations has been solved by increasing the number of medical personnel’s to be recruited at middle staff level. These staff trained in association with private formed personnel assumes autonomous administration of CMS (centre medicaux social). The idea behind is to be able to have one CMS by town.

As for the electricity utilities they are deserved by the center (even though the sources come from those communities) and local agencies assume after sales services. The water is managed regionally base on the availability of source of water to be treated and redistributed.

The public functions are not fully decentralized since the archives are not computerized. For some public administration formalities such as retirement papers or insurance payment, it is require to the local populations to travel to the center.

There are still some lacks in Togo implementation of decentralization, and that is why a new policy framework has been formulated under the APRODEC project. They central government signed partnerships with ENA (école nationale d’administration) that is the national school of administration to incorporate decentralizations trainings in their programmes. There is going to be technical assistance at local level by an international volunteer. Associations of community developers have been instituted and proper financing of the roots projects. Other activities comprises of seminars on decentralization, promotion activities on decentralization, inter-active radio and TV programmes on decentralizations, training of archivists, and there is a new convention that have been signed with ENA (école nationale d’administration).

There are studies going on about the feasibility of the piloting of technical and financial operations and management of fundamentals services with collectivities, and also about the co-financing or financing of actions and operations predestined.” – Nampoukime Donam Barnabo – Lomé, Togo

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