BP114: The popular quest for devolution in Zimbabwe

Welcome to the Afrobarometer publications section. For short, topical analyses, try our briefing papers (for survey rounds 1-5) and dispatches (starting with Round 6). For longer, more technical analyses of policy issues, check our policy papers. Our working papers are full-length analytical pieces developed for publication in academic journals or books. You can also search the entire publications database by keyword(s), language, country, and/or author.

Filter content by:

Briefing papers
2013
114
Masunungure, Eldred V. and Stephen Ndoma

Since the installation of the Parliamentary Constitution Select Committee (COPAC) in 2009, the word ‘devolution’ has been one of the buzz words in the country. It is a contentious, emotive and divisive issue with strong regional overtones. It is also a frequently misunderstood and sometimes deliberately distorted term. Technically, devolution is a transfer or delegation of power by an upper level of government (often central level) to lower units of governance, e.g., provincial and local governments. Devolution does not mean federalism where each tier has constitutionally protected areas of power. In devolution, the central authority that grants power can in principle revoke what it grants and the grantee (the devolved government) remains constitutionally subordinate to the power giver. COPAC, which spearheaded public consultations on the new constitution, came up with 26 “talking points,” one of which promoted devolution, which was defined as a situation “whereby in a unitary system, political and administrative power is shared between a national government and lower spheres of the state, for example, provinces and local authorities.”