The current controversy over Provincial Councils can be easily resolved, if we accept the following basic principles –
Provincial Councils should not be abolished, since the 13th amendment establishes the right of people to take decisions in areas that affect them, while affirming the responsibility of the central government for national policy on all matters as well as security requirements for the nation as a whole.
The current Provincial Council system does not sufficiently empower the people, and should be reformed, to ensure that politicians entrusted with responsibilities in the Province are more accountable, and responsive to people’s needs
An appointed Governor is an anomaly given the need for responsive decision making, but a fully empowered Chief Minister who also controls the Provincial Council could exercise power without adequate responsibility to the people
Waste and duplication of resources and responsible personnel should be avoided.
The following proposals therefore affirm the principle of devolution to meaningful levels, by increasing the input into decision making of local government bodies. I suggest therefore that the Provincial Council be made up of representatives of local bodies, preferably selected from those elected through the list, since they should devote their principal energies to Provincial matters rather than the business of wards within local bodies.
The Executive authority shall be an elected Governor, but he will be assisted not by politicians but by technical experts. This is in line with the system followed in other countries that have directly elected executive authorities, since this will enhance their effectiveness, while also promoting the independence of the legislative body that should formulate laws and also exercise financial oversight.
The system given below will I suggest fulfil the following objectives –
- To establish provincial responsibility and accountability on the basis of subsidiarity for relevant issues
- To streamline the provincial administration and promote effective executive powers whilst limiting duplication of political functions
- To provide for technical and professional competence in areas of provincial concern
Every Province shall have a Provincial Assembly which shall be empowered to pass regulations and laws as delegated by Parliament. The Provincial Assembly shall con sist of one representative of each Local Government body within the Province, elected by that body on the Alternative Vote system. The Chairman or Mayor of such bodies shall not be eligible to serve in the Provincial Assembly, though they shall be ex officio members of the Finance Committee of the Provincial Assembly and may be invited to meetings of other Committees of the Assembly.
The Assembly shall meet twice a month for sessions of at least two days, and shall also formulate a Development Policy for the Province, in addition to being responsible for legislation as prescribed, and for the approval and monitoring of funds deployed in the Province, and for regulations to raise funds as laid out in the Constitution.
The Executive Head of the Province shall be a Governor elected direct by the people on the Alternative Vote system. The Governor shall head the Finance and Law Departments of the Province and shall appoint Secretaries, subject to approval from the Provincial Council, to head the following Departments
- Infrastructure Development
- Public Services (including Transport, Health and Education)
- Productivity and Trade
- Skills Development
They will liaise with public officials appointed by them to Provincial Departments from the Provincial public service, and with the administrative heads of Districts and Divisions who shall be responsible to them for the areas within their purview.