CIVIC society groups (CSOs) in Matabeleland are organising an all-stakeholders’ convention to come up with answers to a myriad of socio-economic and political problems that have plagued the region.
By Nkululeko Sibanda
The convention, according to information availed to Southern Eye, is set for August 10 at a venue to be decided.
One of the organisers of the convention, Samukele Hadebe said extensive consultations had taken place among stakeholders in the region with a view to ensuring that all key challenges facing communities in Matabeleland were brought to the table.
“We met as members of the communities in the Matabeleland region to discuss our challenges and find ways in which these can be addressed,” Hadebe said.
“We didn’t want to thumb suck solutions or even guess about possible causes. We needed facts that could inform our way forward. So we set up an ad hoc investigation team whose task was to get the necessary facts, not just about educational challenges for our children, but all social, cultural, economic and political problems that could be affecting us as a region.”
According to Hadebe, the root cause of Matabeleland’s challenges was individualism among stakeholders.
“Last year, after some broad consultations, it was resolved that no single group or organisation, be it a cultural organisation, religious organisation or political party can address these wide-ranging problems affecting communities (in Matabeleland),” he said.
“We also observed that our failure to see concrete progress in all the efforts that players have tried to make in dealing with the region’s crisis was the roll out of disjointed programmes which in most instances are at cross purposes.
“There is serious fractionalisation politically, culturally and in development initiatives, hence local people tend to be outdone by outsiders even in business, in jobs and in occupying public offices.”
The convention, it is understood, would become the basis to harness regional energy, knowledge, and skills base which are seen as abundant in Matabeleland and an answer to the underdevelopment crisis at hand.
“Ultimately, it was resolved that a people’s convention should be organised to chart a way out of this social, economic and political decline,” Hadebe said.
“The convention, to be known as Phutheho, would bring representatives from our communities and other stakeholders like religious, cultural, political, traditional leadership, business, and academia, women and youth groups to chart a way out of these problems that tether us in poverty, unemployment, disease and powerlessness.”