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Groups intensify devolution fight

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Bulaway-based civic society organisations (CSOs) have resolved to take their lobbying for provision of a comprehensive clause that guarantees devolution of power to the Second All-Stakeholders’ Conference set to be held next month.

Speaking at a Devolution of Power Conference 2012 organised by the Matabeleland Civil Society Forum (MCSF) over the weekend, civic society leaders said the provisions in the draft released last week were not adequate.

“When you demand something, it means there is something wrong, it means there is a hole in the bucket and it has to be fixed,” said MCSF spokesperson Dumisani Nkomo.

“Here (the bucket) was just painted blue, but it is still leaking.

“Moses (in the Bible) demanded that the children of Israel be set free not in instalments.

“When we say we want devolution, we don’t want the devolution of power that is in instalments.

“As civil society, our understanding is that the process is still unfolding, it is not complete yet.

“As it is, there is a chance for us to make more contributions at the Second All-Stakeholders’ Conference.

“We will continue to insist on directly elected governors.”

However, the MDC secretary for research and policy Qhubani Moyo insisted the devolution that was in the draft constitution covered 80% of the general public’s demands.

“In terms of devolution of power, what we realised was that in the long struggle of the people of Matabeleland, we have come 80% close to what we wanted,” he said.

“Now what do we do? Do we retreat and lose? Do we squander the chance of the remaining 20 percent? Rejecting this draft constitution will be a betrayal of the people of Matabeleland.”

Copac co-chairperson and MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora said the draft constitution was “the best document we have had as a people since 1896”.

“It’s either we vote for incremental change or we wait for heaven in the future,” he said.

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