Governance Project: Influencing the legislative framework for improved service delivery and accountable management and utilization of public and natural resources.
Project background: In 2013, Zimbabwe adopted a new constitution that, comparatively to its predecessor, has a greater scope of progressive provisions that are aligned with the international human rights architecture. Building on from there, the government has embarked on an exercise to align various pieces of legislation and policies with the provisions of the new constitution. Given the political volatility of the country, the ongoing legislative and policy reform process led by the government represents a great window of opportunity for civil society to ensure the entrenchment of the relevant provisions of the constitution that guarantee the social, economic and political rights of the people of Zimbabwe
The new constitutional dispensation that came out of a protracted political dialogue is accompanied with an uncharacteristic government emphasis on service delivery through its most recent economic development blue print, the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio- Economic Transformation (Zim Asset). The blueprint is largely inward looking in terms of raising resources for its implementation, sighting the huge natural resource base of the country. This is against a background of several years of decline in agricultural production which used to be the backbone of the country’s economy producing huge surpluses that ensured food security at households and national level and significant revenue inflows from exports. With the mining industry taking centre stage as the key driver of the economy in the absence of a vibrant agricultural sector, it is critical that natural resources in the extractives sector are exploited and managed in a manner that benefits the population. Oxfam and its partners are cognizant of the fact that a clear legislative framework is instrumental for public accountability and transparency.
This pilot project is therefore developed to capitalise on the window of opportunity that is presented by the legislative reform processes in which the government is involved following the adoption of the new constitution. While emphasis by government is on ensuring alignment with the new constitution, Oxfam and its partners realise the opportunity that this process presents in terms of pushing for legislative and policy changes that under different circumstances would be significantly more difficult and less likely to yield any change in the short run. The pilot project will influence the legislative reforms that will provide for the accountable and transparent use of public natural resources for improved service delivery to poor communities.
This project aims to focus on ensuring that the fundamental provisions of the new Constitution, especially on gender equality and socio-economic rights, inform the legislation that governs basic service delivery and the utilization of natural and public resources. The project will strive to facilitate citizen participation (bringing out women and men’s voices) on issues of gender equality and socio-economic rights as enshrined in the new constitution while echoing the provisions of the Zim Asset in ensuring that natural and public resources benefit the people. The programme envisages the ability of rights holders to demand accountability from duty bearers. This programme is driven by the impetus that individual and community investment in issues dear to them is the seed from which change begins. It is the desire for change that redresses the policies and practices that perpetuate poverty and inequitable access to basic human rights.
In summary, the intervention seeks to promote and advance the Constitution and to address unequal power relations, to ensure that the poorest and most marginalised, especially women and youth have Equity, voice and representation in terms of access to resources, access to services. The interventions aim to work towards People’s empowerment, activism and solidarity. Our work on the new constitution will thus comprise three critical elements: Alignment, Knowledge Building and Implementation, all driven by participatory and consultative citizen engagement.
While there are several acts that the government is working on the project is focusing on the following acts that have a significant bearing on accountable delivery of services especially by local authorities, the management and utilisation of natural and public resources and the participation of communities in local development planning processes.
• Local Governance
- Urban Councils Act
- Rural District Councils act.
- Traditional leaders
• Extractives Industries
- The Mines and Minerals Act
- The Minerals Marketing Act
- The Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act
• Agriculture and the environment
- Agricultural Land Settlement Act,
- Communal Land Act,
- Land Acquisition Act,
- Rural Land Act
- Water and forestation Act
a. It is anticipated that the model Bills to-be-designed will speed up the process for realignment of economic empowerment laws and policies.
b. It is also anticipated that the pilot project will lead to a framework for a bigger programme targeting realignment of other laws besides the ones identified above as well as the capacity development of relevant Ministries to be able to implement the realigned laws.
c. The pilot project is also expected to build the capacity of the rights holders to be able to assert their rights within the reformed legislative institutional framework.
• Legislation and policy analysis
• Community consultations, capturing citizens’ voices.
• Development of model laws
• Advocacy for the adoption of legislative and policy proposals.
• Engagement of local authorities
Project Process and Partners