PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe on Saturday expressed shock at the level of underdevelopment in Gwanda, Matabeleland South province, but opposition parties and local pressure groups dismissed the Zanu PF leader’s concerns as insincere.
By NQOBANI NDLOVU
Mugabe, at the launch of an ICT centre at Jahunda township post office in Gwanda, acknowledged the Matabeleland South capital lags behind in development compared to other regions.
“It (Matabeleland South) is a very, very important region to us … but for one reason or another, as we are in Gwanda, there are areas, which don’t seem to be developed, as in other provinces in terms of actual progress in development. It is, therefore, important that these areas be given priority,” he said before addressing a Zanu PF campaign rally at Pelandaba Stadium.
Gwanda, just like other areas in the southern parts of the country, has not realised significant infrastructure development since independence in 1980.
As a result of neglect, the district has given birth to a number of radical opposition parties and pressure groups pushing for devolution of power to enable the area to autonomously manage its affairs without interference from central government.
In separate interviews yesterday, Zapu deputy spokesperson, Iphithule Maphosa and Ibhetshu LikaZulu co-ordinator, Mbuso Fuzwayo said Mugabe should accept blame for marginalisation of the region.
“Mugabe, in his position as leader of government since 1980, is only being sarcastic to even remark the underdevelopment of Matabeleland South. He has presided over the deliberate marginalisation of the whole Matabeleland region by appointing good for nothing bootlickers as government officials,” Maphosa said.
“We prescribe a deliberate affirmative initiative on both economic and social development so that the region catches up with the northern counterparts in terms of development.”
Fuzwayo said: “It is unheard of for a head of State to lament underdevelopment of an area when he or she must be championing and spearheading. The ruling party that Mugabe belongs to must ensure there is even development across the country. It is their duty, Mugabe’s duty.”