Gwanda mayor Lionel DeNecker says Zimbabweans must take calls for devolution of power seriously as it is the only way regions like Matabeleland can develop.
“Matabeleland is a region that is lagging behind in development and this is mainly due to the centralisation of industry in the northern regions of Zimbabwe,” he said.
“It is quite obvious that Matabeleland will suffer without devolution.”
The mayor said contrary to fears that devolution would result in disunity, the concept was good for national development.
“One cannot say devolution is divisive because it will in fact give people an opportunity to develop within their own framework instead of having an external figure that is part of the majority imposing what they think is best for those that are part of the minority,” DeNecker, who belongs to the Welshman Ncube-led MDC, said.
He said a town like Gwanda was poor despite boasting of resources such as gold and cement.
“This is because of people who come into Gwanda and take these resources to go and further develop their already developed areas, leaving the town with very little benefits from its own resources.”
President Robert Mugabe and Local Government, Urban and Rural Development minister Ignatius Chombo have been at the forefront of opposing devolution of power.
But the Constitution Select Committee has revealed that devolution is among the 26 principles that would used to draft Zimbabwe’s new constitution.