BY THOMAS CHIDAMBA
HUMAN rights defender Farai Maguwu has blasted the centralised government system in the country saying that it was becoming a breeding ground for corruption, which also hinders rural development.
Maguwu, who is also the founding director of the Centre for Natural Resources Governance (CNRG) told NewsDay in an interview that government should decentralise power to local authorities to ensure that rural areas benefit from their natural resources.
“Our system of governance does not promote development but is a breeding ground for corruption, nepotism, and many other isms. Devolution of power is critical, and our national budget ought to allocate resources per district,” Maguwu said.
He also said MPs, councillors and rural district councils were not effective on issues of developing communities as their activities were highly politicised.
“Local members of Parliament and councillors operate with no budget; they are ceremonial. RDCs are politicised such that they are disconnected from the people they purport to serve. They (political leaders) are starved of resources for local development. A lot of roads in rural Zimbabwe should long have been declared a state of national disaster,” he said.
Maguwu said the centralisation of decisions in Harare continued to sideline resources-rich rural communities.
He also urged the government to amend the Communal Land Act which he described as “colonial and diabolical” for rural people to enjoy ownership of their land.
“The Communal Land Act gives rural dwellers permission to use land and occupy communal land without owning it. That is why more communities are threatened with evictions which undermine development,” he said.
Maguwu said government should implement devolution which transfers some political power, administrative responsibilities, and resources to elected local governments.
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