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Devolution not secession — Matinenga


Parliamentary and Constitutional Affairs minister Eric Matinenga on Thursday took a swipe at elements in government who are confusing people on the devolution issue for political mileage.

Matinenga was contributing to the public debate held in Harare under the theme, “New constitution for Zimbabwe: Practical or Impossible.”

He said devolution of power was different from “secessionist” ideologies which ordinary citizens were made to believe by some politicians in the country.

“Devolution of power is different from secession. When people are talking about devolution, they are not talking about Matabeleland provinces alone, and we are talking about other provinces like Masvingo and Manicaland,” said Matinenga.

He castigated other politicians whom he said misconstrued devolution to suit their political agendas.

“Devolution is a necessity if we want the whole country to develop.

“There would be no province which would lag behind and complain about being sidelined. I think this issue of devolution of power should be in our new constitution,” he added.

President Robert Mugabe was recently quoted in the Press as saying: “We don’t want to divide the country into small pieces because it will cause disunity among our people. Those things are done in big countries, not a small country like ours.

“We once had this, under the Federation which included Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), Northern Rhodesia (Zambia) and Nyasaland (Malawi). Some are talking about separating Matabeleland region to become a country. That is impossible. We don’t want that.”

Tsholotsho South MP and Zanu PF politburo member Jonathan Moyo also castigated devolution of power recently.

“This debate is senseless because devolution, which is a well-recognised public administration principle and concept of decentralisation, has been falsely morphed into a constitutional issue carrying all the baggage of federalism which has become a dirty word in the Zimbabwean constitutional debate.

“The time has come to make it very clear Zanu PF will not support or be part of any draft constitution that seeks federalism in Zimbabwe under any guise, let alone the cover of devolution.

“Federalism is not devolution and devolution is not federalism.”

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