By Mashoko M Matonhodze
Thirty-two years after independence sane Zimbabweans should ask the following questions?
(1) Why is the diamond processing/polishing plant built in Zvimba District, when diamonds are in the East (Manicaland) and south of the country (Masvingo and Midlands),
(2) why was the Jatropha plant built in Zvimba District when Mutoko (Mash East) was potentially the largest producer of the jatropha plants,
(3) why is the Zvimba Chieftainship included in the Mhondoro-Chegutu-Zvimba community share trust when chief Zvimba’s jurisdiction is more than 64 KM from Zimplats mine yet there are other chiefs closer and Zvimba community development trust is still active.
(4), why Tokwe Mukosi Dam is still uncompleted and,
(5) what happened to the Zambezi-Matabeleland water project.
(6)Why would companies in Bulawayo close for lack of capitalization when the government is harboring thousands of Ghost workers bleeding the fiscus of millions. Can we blame problems of underdevelopment especially in the southern provinces and any other provinces save for Zvimba and Harare to poor economic prospects or to centralization.
One is tempted to blame it all on centralization of power by this sunset party. Democracy is about giving power to the people to rule themselves. Again one is tempted to equate democracy with decentralization and autocracy with centralization.
The idea of devolution that is transfer of power and resources to the provinces is a welcome step.
Devolution of power to the grass roots level leads to better provision of social and civil services, restoration of the real democracy in the country and a more active and beneficial interaction and participation of the masses in all tiers of governance.
Successful devolved government will play a big role towards the establishment of a truly democratic and lasting political order in the country.
Devolution of power is an internationally tested mode of governance. It will go a long way towards helping the authority to achieve its goals of strengthening the nation, removing provincial disharmony and restoring National Cohesion.
Headway in these critical areas will facilitate the achievements of the goals on the agenda points ensuring law and order, providing speedy justice and accountability and eradicating corruption.
The existing political administrative structure adopted from the much hated colonial regime with its highly centralized state power meant to benefit an elite few, is incapable of providing effective popular governance.
The existing system strongly resists equitable distribution of power and resources in which the rich protect their own interests. Autocracy and centralized rule practiced by the regime of R Mugabe has damaged democracy, destroyed national institutions like the police and kept a healthy political culture from developing
The MDC government will recognize the giving of power to the people, were it actually belongs; the future well being, stability and unity of the nation will be enhanced. To make the devolution of power more effective the provincial governments have to be granted financial and administrative powers.
They must have the power to levy and collect the revenues. Devolution according to ZANU PF prohibits provincial governments from raising and managing funds from their own resources is not likely to enable the people to run their own affairs.
Effective lower judiciary is an important part of the system of devolution, local judicial institutions have to be created and existing ones strengthened to provide cheap and timely justice. Arbitration and conciliatory courts will help to avoid expensive litigation whereas the present set up, the common man has to travel to the capital to obtain justice and other services, which should be the responsibility of local authorities.
The genesis of the present situation is that politics in Zimbabwe has been a negation of all ingredients of democracy. It has been confined to one ruler (RGM). Government has been personal fiefdom of one leader, landlords, business tycoons and generals. They conspire with civil or military bureaucracy to achieve, retain and perpetuate power
Provincial disharmony has arisen out of the neglect and deprivation of other provinces, the centralization of power has encouraged internal dissension and disharmony. This has weakened the State and aggravated the multi dimensional crises the people face in their daily lives which has led to deteriorating political and social fabric of the country.
Till now there hasn’t been any reform in the governance of the country and the provinces are devoid of effective power in majority of subjects, hence devolution was long overdue because autonomy has always been lacking in our country, hence the process of devolution as espoused by MDC cannot be introduced without ensuring and safeguarding some form of provincial autonomy
Since 1980 provincial and national politics have been helpless victims of power hogging syndrome by the Zanu Pf Regime. The person who has been on the throne has been misusing all the power that he can lay his hands on, weather it is covered by the rules or not.
The local government has been degenerated into an instrument of perpetuating the ZANU PF power base.
Beauracracy was imposed on the people’s representatives, district administrators and appointed governors were the pillars of the British rule in colonial Zimbabwe but from 1980 this has not changed. Zimbabwe inherited a highly centralized political system and the ruling class fronted by RGM confirm to the colonial traditions of governing the entire country from a strong militarized centre
The concept is workable and is already working in the advanced and highly developed countries including our own neighbor South Africa. In our country the high literacy rate may prove a major ingredient in this conceptual change.
Devolution is a hen likely to lay the golden egg for the country unless the present GNU continues for some more years; it will kill the hen before it even lays. The seed we have for the new Zimbabwe is being sown and is yet to sprout, grow into an adult plant that bears the fruits.
Mean while the gardener is going to change, the next one is going to uproot this sour fruit plant finding it not to his taste and implements devolution as a development structure
My Voice is in, My vote is Yes
Development for the people by the people
Mashoko M Matonhodze, is the Chitungwiza provincial youth Chair for the MDC-T