By Tinashe Chigwata
The first bone of contention is the meaning of devolution. The 2013 Constitution mentions the word devolution about five times but nowhere does it define it.
The meaning of devolution is therefore subject to interpretation. Various persons and formations in Zimbabwe have tried to define devolution.
Some define devolution as the delegation of governmental powers and responsibilities to subnational governments.
This is wrong, as devolution is not the same as delegation.
Devolution is also perceived as nothing more than giving decision makers stationed at provincial and local administrative levels the authority to make decisions while primary accountability remains with the centre.
This is essentially deconcentration which is not synonymous with devolution.
Others equate devolution with federalism, an arrangement of government where federating units are almost on a par with the federal government.
This is incorrect, even though devolution can take place in a federation, as stated above. As long as there is no consensus on the meaning of devolution, there is little basis for its effective implementation.