Public Statement on Government’s Intention to Centralize Council Run Clinics

Disturbed by recent media reports that central government intends taking over all council run clinics in order to standardize health service delivery in Zimbabwe, we the citizens of Zimbabwe united by our desire to realize devolution of power as espoused in the Constitution of Zimbabwe and being organized under the nonviolent citizens’ social movement – Campaigners for Devolution – held a virtually public meeting over the weekend and resolved the following:

  • Government takeover of Council run clinics is not the best idea since government run health institutions are currently struggling to provide quality services due to centralization of power and poor funding. This will lead to the total collapse of primary health provision as Council run clinics were the most dependable source of primary health services;
  • The decision is ultra-vice the Constitutional provisions on Devolution of Power as espoused in Sections 264 and 265 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe. It is also against the spirit of devolution practise as espoused in NDS1. Section 2(1) of the Constitution stipulates that the “Constitution is the supreme law of Zimbabwe and any law, practice, custom or conduct inconsistent with it is invalid to the extent of the inconsistency”.
  • Centralization in Zimbabwe has always led to pathetic and shambolic service delivery. Examples include the centralization of bulk water provision by ZINWA which is the cause of acute water shortages in almost every urban locality; the recent centralization of public transport ZUPCO which is causing serious transport challenges for ordinary citizens.

Recommendations

As residents and citizens we instead wish to recommend that:

  1. Government respect constitutionalism by receding the decision to take over council clinics. Section 2(2) of the Constitution stipulates that “the obligations imposed by this Constitution are binding on every person, natural or juristic, including the State and all executive, legislative and judicial institutions and agencies of government at every level, and must be fulfilled by them.”
  2. Instead of taking over Council run clinics, government must:
  3. Expedite the issuance of grants to Councils to support their sterling efforts in providing primary health care services to the people;
  4. Construct more clinics especially in rural areas where people are still travelling very long distances of upto 15 – 20 km to access health care services;
  5. Resources government health institutions with all the necessary and relevant resources to enable them to function at optimum capacity;
  6. Construct more hospitals in both urban and rural areas;
  7. Devolve nurse training recruitment and recruitment of health care professionals;
  8. Dialogue with local authorities to abide by government policies.
  9. We urge the Parliament of Zimbabwe to also execute its mandate of defending the Constitution and democratic governance as espoused in Section 119 of the Constitution and hold the executive accountable on such undemocratic and anti-devolution policy directives.
  10. We further urge the people of Zimbabwe to unite across tribal and political enclaves to non-violently demand the full implementation of devolution of power.

Conclusion

Campaigners for Devolution is a nonviolent citizens’ movement that was established in 2015, which is coordinated by Matabeleland Institute for Human Rights (MIHR) and exists to campaign for the full implementation of devolution of power in Zimbabwe as espoused by the Constitution of the land.

Campaigners for Devolution: #Mayibuye i-Devolution

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