Govt accused of deliberate regional discrimination

Social Welfare deputy minister Tapiwa Matangaidze

CIVIL society and human rights groups in Bulawayo have accused the government of deliberately marginalising Matabeleland, as evidenced by the paltry resources allocated to schools in the region under the State-funded Basic Education Assistance Module (Beam).


Social Welfare deputy minister Tapiwa Matangaidze
Social Welfare deputy minister Tapiwa Matangaidze

A report presented in Parliament by Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare deputy minister Tapiwa Matangaidze reveals that Bulawayo and Matabeleland North and South received smaller Beam budgetary allocations compared to other provinces.

This comes amid reports that Matabeleland North and South had the highest school dropout rates in 2015 due to, among others, failure to pay tuition fees.

Matabeleland Institute for Human Rights secretary-general, Benedict Sibasa said this showed “systematic discrimination” to perpetuate social genocide.

“The evidence is a clear sign of planned structural regional human rights violations designed to perpetuate and exacerbate social genocide and black-on-black apartheid in Zimbabwe and is a clear violation of constitutional rights and human rights as enshrined in international law.

“This allocation matrix is in total violation of the national development principles, especially section 13 subsection (1)(d) of the Constitution,” he said.

A total of 10 926 vulnerable students benefited under Beam at a total cost of $987 227, with Bulawayo and Matabeleland North and South having the fewest beneficiaries compared to other provinces.

Bulawayo had 222, Matabeleland North 487 and Matabeleland South 540, whereas Midlands and Masvingo had 1 632 beneficiaries each, Harare 851, Manicaland 1 440, Mashonaland Central 1 190, Mashonaland East 1 572 and Mashonaland West 1 357.

Sibasa said the unfair allocations violated section 18 and 56 on regional representation.

“It is also contrary to section 18 of the Constitution on fair regional representation especially subsection (2), which says ‘the State and all institutions and agencies of the State and government at every level must take practical measures to ensure that all local communities have equitable access to resources to promote their development’.

“It is also clear that the Beam allocations violate section 56 of the Constitution on equality and non-discrimination,” Sibasa said.