Devolution is best way of addressing economic injustices – Tsvangirai

HARARE – There is need to ensure that devolution of power becomes a reality for the sake of cohesion in the country, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has said.\r\n

The PM was addressing participants at a stakeholders’ water conference in the city last week.

 “It (devolution) must now become a reality,” he said. “We cannot have a situation where some people feel that the centre is taking everything.”

 Tsvangirai said such a governance system was for the good of the nation and not just the people of Matabeleland.

 Devolution is generally defined as the statutory granting of powers from central government of a sovereign state to government at a sub-regional level such as regional, local or state.

 Tsvangirai said the concept was aptly premised on the assumption that each area or district or province had peculiar challenges and therefore a blanket approach to problems would not deal with issues relevant to people in a particular area.

 “In my province, in my home district of Buhera, people say they are marginalised and the same in Tsholotsho, but the problems may be different,” said Tsvangirai.

 Tsvangirai said devolution should not be regarded as fodder for some political opportunists but something that had to be translated from “theory to practice”.

 A few months ago, Tsvangirai also took advantage of a rally organised for him at Stanley Square in Makokoba to announce his party had embraced devolution of power as the appropriate system of governance in Zimbabwe.

 During the constitution outreach exercise, people in the Matabeleland region reportedly overwhelmingly spoke in favour of devolution of power despite Zanu PF pushing for the maintenance of a centralised system which the party favours.

 An opinion poll commissioned by our correspondent this year whose results were announced in September revealed that the majority of people in Matabeleland were in favour of devolution of power.

 Pressure groups and political parties based in Matabeleland have for the past two decades been lobbying for devolution of power saying centralisation had resulted in unequal development opportunities for the 10 provinces with the Matabeleland region, the worst affected.

 Opponents of the system have often equated it to secession but advocates of the concept from Matabeleland region believe there is nothing sinister with it as it only reflected a “desire to control our own affairs”.