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‘Devolution of power necessary’


A Bulawayo-based theatre group has launched a play showcasing why devolution of power is necessary in Zimbabwe despite President Mugabe and ZanuPF condemning it as “divisive”.

The play showing why some provinces like Matabeleland are demanding devolution of power is a project of Khayisa Arts Group of Mpopoma and was premiered last week at Luveve Hall during a consultative meeting on devolution organised by Bulawayo Agenda, a civic group based in the city.

The devolution play dwells on the administrative and public service provision failures of the centralised system.

In the play, an old woman had to travel from Lupane to Harare to get a passport which was also her “passport” to economic freedom as she was a cross-border trader.

The play touches on health, education and citizen participation in policy formulation in the current dispensation and the would-be situation in a devolved model of governance.

The play comes amidst calls by the two formations of the MDC, human rights groups, pressure groups and churches for the urgent implementation of devolution of power in Zimbabwe to stop the continued marginalisation of some provinces.

Devolution of power is one of the topical issues that dominated the debate during outreach meetings by the Constitution Select Committee (Copac) with widespread calls for its adoption especially in Matabeleland, Midlands and Manicaland, where diamond deposits are in abundance.

Groups calling for devolution have said the system of governance would remove all bottlenecks and red tape created by the current centralist governance system.

Some civic groups accuse the central government of robbing resource-rich regions to develop preferred provinces. Notable victims of this arrangement include Matabeleland and diamond-rich Manicaland which lags behind in terms of development.

But Mugabe and Zanu PF have condemned devolution as divisive.

In one of his 88th birthday interviews serialised by the State media, Mugabe declared he would not allow devolution to be included in the new national constitution.

“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 to a small country like ours. We once had this, under the Federation which included Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), Northern Rhodesia (Zambia) and Nyasaland (Malawi),” Mugabe was quoted saying.

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