Devolution can contribute to the eradication of poverty

When are you relocating to Harare? This question has been thrown to various people several times.

guest column: Joyce Chigiya

The response to the question is usually another question.

The ensuing back and forth has not been constructive either way. What gives rise to the question is the notion that life happens in and around the great metropolis and nowhere else in the country. This has given impetus for the rural-urban migration.

However, the resultant over-population of the capital city has become so burdensome that pertinent services fail to meet demand.

Services such as sewer reticulation, water supply and waste removal have been falling far short.

The other equally weighty downside to having one central power point is stunted growth of the rest of the country.

The need for meaningful development in the best part of the country has given rise to the school of thought that devolution is the way to go if Zimbabwe as a nation is to upgrade to an upper middle class economy by 2030.

According to The Advanced English Dictionary, devolution is delegation of authority from central to regional authority.

This system of governance would see each province having its own semi-autonomous administrative centre.

The provincial capitals would in turn oversee development in the smaller, but certainly not lesser settlements like growth points.


It would be incumbent upon local communities as well as authorities to see to it that the individual states function to their fullest potential.

This is in terms of making the best of natural as well as human resources the various provinces are endowed with in order to meet their needs.

Food is the most basic need, therefore, its security has to be ensured before everything else.

With devolution, various provinces would have to aim at being self-sufficient rather than depending on other provinces for survival.

This need would make residences of particular provinces realise the need to employ best practices in agriculture.

Such practices would take into consideration aspects like weather, terrain and climatic changes that affect their particular regions.

For example, Masvingo is mainly in regions 4-5 which are areas that receive the least amount of rain in the country.

Production of drought-tolerant crops would certainly mitigate the constant famines that the province often falls into.

Surplus small grain could be exchanged for other crops that cannot be grown in the province.

In addition, horticulture products would not only be ferried to Harare for sale.

Aggressive marketing strategies to have the produce sold locally would need to be done. Securing local consumers would minimise transport costs.

Moreover, perishables get to consumers in real time due to their proximity.

However, self-sufficiency of a province would only be possible if the communities and their leaders realise that they really have to stand up and be counted.

Devolution would see to the growth of agri-business since every self-respecting province would feel too proud to depend on another for sustenance.

The case is true not only in the provision of food, but also in the creation of wealth.

Zimbabwe has a wealth of resources girded around her. The introduction of devolution as a way of governance would come as the biblical parable of the talents.

Local residents would have been empowered to do all they can to improve their lot using God-given “talents”.

This would mean rolling up their sleeves and going in for the gold, as it were.

Each province would have to find ways of obtaining and most importantly, utilising resources found in its environments.

These resources come in various forms such as minerals. A lot of mineral wealth can be brought to the fore if residents of particular places were left to take charge of resources at their disposal.

Devolution would ensure that those who reside around mineral deposits benefit the most.

This would be an incentive enough to drive the said residents to reclaim the land after extraction.

Land degradation destroys and undermines the natural beauty of the land, and yet this could be another source of revenue. Existing tourist attractions would be enhanced and new ones created.

This is possible with the advent of devolution since there are so many natural attractions as well as sporting and artistic talents in the people which may otherwise never see the light of day.

In sum, let us imagine a traditional wedding feast where the guests have to queue at one feeding point. The queue would obviously be a long one.

This may result in commotion or some guests getting so disheartened they may abandon the prospect of ever having a meal at the function and leave.

Such a situation could be avoided if the host sets up a good number of feeding points.

Not only would queuing be minimised, but the guests would get hot food in an efficient manner.

Devolution would certainly inculcate the spirit of none, but ourselves in every progressive Zimbabwean.

Such an outlook would without doubt help us make it to upper middle class status by 2030.

Joyce Chigiya is a member of the RAIMSOSA Writers Club. She writes in her personal capacity.

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