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Friday, 11 January 2013

Intellectual Poverty (Humphrey Mwanza)

Humphrey Mwanza MP says that it is sad that the PF government has not appointed anyone from North-western Province to full cabinet position. He says it is critical that the province is represented in Cabinet because most developmental discussions are done by the Cabinet. 

This is poor thinking at many levels. The key to development is not more regionally representative cabinet level discussions. Development won't come by talking. Development comes by the local community owning the development agenda. It is bottom up not top down. Mr Mwanza should be focusing on getting local people have a say in the development process by arguing for greater fiscal decentralisation and participatory budgeting.

The other problem with Mr Mwanza's point is that he does not seem to understand how government works. PF runs not the Executive. It is only one branch of government. It sets development priorities, but it is the legislature that approves the priorities. So government is already regionally representative through MPs. If people feel they are not well represented they should direct their effort on e during the Legislature is adequately representative and is holding the Executive to account.

Which brings us back to the pressing issue. We should push for greater efforts to devolve power from the centre. The BIG issue here is devolving governance. We must look at the current system of governance and dream of better and more coherent system of governance, where people are able to get involved in shaping their destiny. It is my view that the cries for regional and tribal balancing within the Executive are not only fuelled by ignorance but also desperation - people don't feel they are being heard in policy making. A key way to begin to resolve this to devolve more power to the local level.

1 comment:

  1. The Legislature can only "approve" government expenditure it cannot change it. For example the legislature cannot transfer expenditure earmarked for the pedicle road to the kalene hill project. Besides its important that the the composition of the Executive reflect the society from the breadth and length of the country. Optics are very important not only for America but Zambia also. That's what is meant by an "inclusive" government!

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