24 MARCH 2012 ELECTIONS PROPOSAL ENDORSEMENT
The ZAPU Europe Districts and Branch Chairs unequivocally support the proposal and announcement by the Council of Elders to hold provincial elections for Europe Province on the 24th of March 2012 and hereby endorse it as the only positive way forward. Members have maintained their loyalty and the love for the party, what now remains is to awaken the giant in them and unleash their potentialities.Last Updated ( Tuesday, 06 March 2012 20:40 )
“As long as the police carry out the will of the leadership, it is acting legally”.
2012 has definitely not put its best foot forward as has been characteristic of all election years in Zimbabwe in the past 3 decades of independence. Recent events of violence by some unscrupulous members of the police force in Nkayi and other areas, which have been synonymous with election years in those areas, have degraded the status of the once elite force in the region to the ranks of the notorious NAZI Geheime Staatspolizei, commonly known as Gestapo (Secret State Police). Our police have become so partisan in the Zimbabwean securitised politics that even the top ranking military and police officers openly reiterate that they will never accept a President who did not fight in the liberation struggle.Last Updated ( Monday, 06 February 2012 10:13 )
DEVOLUTION OF POWER ENTAILS FISCAL FEDERALISM
The justification for a decentralised system embodying provincial and other sub-national decision-making powers tends to be political. In Zimbabwean politics, as Bogdnor, V (2001) aptly puts it, “The issue of devolution has often been for polemic rather than reasoned analysis”. This has been the case with the Zimbabwean politics where perennial under achieving opposition parties have played the devolution card hoping to gain autonomy in regions where they thought their supporters reside. Not until ZAPU presented it. ZAPU presents devolution in a way that intends to benefit all Zimbabweans regardless of their political affiliations and tribal/ethnic background. In his earlier book Devolution, Bogdnor (1979) claims that devolution has three parts to it:
1. The transfer of power to a subordinate elected body.
2. The transfer of power on a geographical basis; and
3. The transfer of functions at present exercised by Parliament
In ZAPU literature, devolution essentially involves the setting up of an elected regional assembly/parliament whose powers are carefully and clearly defined by national government. The present system of government fears that autonomous provinces would decrease its ability to govern unchallenged and has used its repressive powers to entrench provincial disparities and divisive tribal politics: beg the dissident provinces policy. Puppet provincial leaders incapable of making autonomous rational decisions have been arbitrarily appointed and led by wimp ineffective ceremonial provincial governors.
Devolution of power includes division of public sector functions and finances amongst the different tiers of government, in short, fiscal federalism. The main emphasis being the need to focus on the necessity for improving performance of the public sector and the provision of its services by ensuring proper alignment of responsibilities and policy instruments.
FISCAL FEDERALISM AND ECONOMIC WELFARE
Fiscal federalism seeks to guide devolution by focusing on allocative efficiency and welfare maximisation. One of the arguments advanced for fiscal federalism is that the preferences and the needs of citizens and taxpayers for public sector goods and services are better known to the local government officials than to those who represent the central government. Therefore, local governments have more information about the needs and priorities of the citizens. While some services like defence are definitely national in nature, there are some which are local in nature like street lighting and a local radio station. Rural people should be able to utilise their local radio station to make announcement, look for their cattle or find a market for their garden produce.
This level of devolution enhances public participation in decision-making since provincial and local governments are closer to the communities they serve and this fosters fiscal accountability. Decentralisation places restrictions on the central government which, in Zimbabwe, has tended to exhibit monopolist tendencies by amassing political and economic power in a few hands and in one geographic area. Other regions and societies have been sustainably exploited and made to beg since independence from Britain in 1980.
Centralisation forces a uniform mix of taxes and public spending; even though tastes and preferences in Beitbridge vary considerably from those of Nyamapanda. Bureaucratic inefficiency which emanates from large programmes being implemented in diverse geographic areas is also magnified by centralisation.
FISCAL FEDERALISM AND TAXATION
Fiscal federalism also looks at the abilities of sub-national governments and how the fiscal instruments are allocated across the different layers of government. Decentralisation of taxing and spending powers places a disciplinary check on the size of the government by forging a closer link between raising funds and spending funds. Deciding what the responsibilities of the national and sub-national governments is called assigning expenditures. It involves deciding which taxes, levies and licences should be collected by the central government and which ones should be left to the provinces. These decisions are never, and can never be precise or final. As a consequence, responsibilities and duties will always overlap. This means that the economic analysis of devolution should focus in determining the optimal jurisdictional authority. This, in practice, goes beyond purely economic considerations. Sub-national governments are politically or historically determined and may not coincide with the benefit areas of public goods and services. Spatial externalities exist between sub-national government boundaries. This raises the argument that the formation of provinces and districts should be informed by economic ability and need.
Studies and historical evidence does not provide clear guidelines as to which taxes and expenditures should be assigned to central or sub-national governments. Balance need to be struck between the need for efficiency and economies of scale and the harnessing of spatial externalities.
FISCAL FEDERALISM AND CORRUPTION
Poor governance and corruption are some of the thorny issues in Zimbabwe. Fears of corruption under a decentralised system are grounded on lack of capacity and transparency in government. ZAPU, as a government in waiting, is leading the way in capacity building, conducting workshops and training programmes in various leadership positions. Empirical evidence suggests that corruption is more widespread at provincial than at national level. This may be due to lower salaries, less prospects for advancement and the like, at local government level.
Fiscal federalism is relevant for all kinds of government – whether the government is unified as in the French model or decentralised as in the American model. The constitutional right of citizens to move and settle anywhere within the borders of their country should never be compromised. Tribalists and opportunists should never be allowed to usurp the noble concept of devolution and use it to form the basis for tribal politics which intend to take Zimbabwe and Zimbabweans two hundred years back.
ZAPU won the 2008 elections
In the three decades since the Lancaster House talks brought universal suffrage to Zimbabwe-Rhodesia, voter turnout in national elections has plummetted from over 95% in 1980 to just about 43% in 2008. A mammoth drop of about 52 percentage points; 55% to be exact. Judging by the 1980 statistic, Zimbabweans are passionate about voting.Leading to the 1980 ballot, none of the former patrotic front parties had had the opportunity to do any meaningful voter education. In fact, even the Lancaster House talks caught them by surprise because they had purposed to take the country through the barrel of the gun. There had been no youths or green bombers sent to terrorise the villagers forcing them to go and vote. People spent several days in the queue of their own volution. There were no chiefs bribed with cars or partisan village headmen with registers checking who has voted. Still, they came in their numbers to the few polling stations which were about 20km apart.Where, then did all this enthusiasm go? While the Gukurahundi and related activities of the early to mid 1980s saw voter turnout drop 10 percentage points in 1985, it was the bombshell of the 1987 Unity Accord which was the last straw. Only 60% of registered voters bothered to vote in the 1990 elections. Since then, only the Zimbabwe dollar fell faster than the voter turnout. In 2008, in a country of about 14million in habitants, there were only 5.9 million registered voters and of these, only 43% cast their votes. Of the 43% (about 2.5 million) who voted, Tswangirai got 48%. The monarch got 43%.What does all this statistics really mean? Tswangirayi got 48% of those who voted, who were only a mere 43% of the registered voters. So only 20% of registered voters voted for Tswangirai. Only 20%!. Who has ever ruled a country with support from only 20% of the population? Zanu got 18%, the other MDC about 4.3% of registered voters. Well, giving a 5% allowance to ghost voters on the voters' roll we are still left with over 50% registered voters who have not voted since the ill-fated Unity Accord. These are the voters who are not part to the current GNU, these are the people whose interests are not represented in the current Sadc mediated talks. These are the people ZAPU represent. The current parties to the unending talks have long lost the mandate of the majority of Zimbabweans. Come 2012 elections, ZAPU will restore Zimbabwe to the people of Zimbabwe.
ZAPU - Its FACE, Its STAND and Its AIMS
At present ZAPU has no newspaper mouthpiece. The trend is that the State media covers ZAPU when it finds or thinks it has found something negative to report on. The so- called independent press appears to support other political parties, and also looks for something negative to report on when it comes to coverage of ZAPU. Some will argue that this thrust of focus by the existing press is part of the exercise of what remains of freedom of the press. It falls on ZAPU to speak for itself, beyond any measure and amount of distortion, on what defines it as a political brand. This press release is but a small effort at that. ZAPU is unique in its face, its stand and its aims. The reader is invited to take a slow, reflective walk with the writer down this uniqueness.
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