Local government in the 2013 constitution of Zimbabwe: Defining the boundaries of local autonomy
de Visser, Jaap
Chigwata, Tinashe Calton
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The 2013 Constitution of Zimbabwe recognises local government as the lowest tier of government in a three tier arrangement. Thus, local government, composed by urban and rural local authorities, now owes its existence directly to the Constitution and not to legislation as was the case under the previous constitutional order. The Constitution assigns to local authorities the responsibility to ‘manage’ and ‘represent’ the affairs of people in their respective areas. Every local authority is given the ‘right to govern’ its jurisdiction with ‘all’ the necessary powers to do so, including devolved powers. Thus, the Constitution recognises that, for the benefits associated with decentralisation to be realised, local authorities require a certain measure of local autonomy. The autonomy which this Constitution affords to local government is however unknown and unexplored, especially from a constitutional law point of view. In this article, we measure the degree of local autonomy guaranteed by the 2013 Constitution.