Matabeleland residents urged to push for devolution

Matabeleland residents have been urged to pursue the implementation of devolution to ensure that the region immensely benefits from its natural resources.

These remarks were made by Tobias Guzura, a consultant, during a Regional Residents’ Summit hosted by Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) on Wednesday.

Devolution entails empowering provincial government councils to spearhead economic and social development projects in their areas by leveraging on local resources.

Guzura noted that the government was pursuing decentralisation instead of devolution.

He said that the fact that an Act on Devolution has been preceded by policies may result in the policies influencing the manner in which the Act will be implemented.

“It is worrying that as far as devolution is concerned, nothing has been done to pursue or to expedite its implementation in the Matabeleland region. This region houses the biggest border post in the Southern Region and also houses one of the seven wonders of the world among a number of tourists resorts but the region has no development to show for all its richness,” he said.

“People in Matabeleland should exercise their rights by taking the Parliament to task over such important issues. A petition to the government is one avenue that can be used to push for the implementation of devolution.”

Guzura further encouraged Matabeleland residents to attend and participate in Parliamentary Portfolio Committee public meetings, so they can make meaningful contributions.

Bulawayo Residents Association (BURA) chairperson Winos Dube concurred that very few residents attend public consultation meetings, but noted that this is because community leaders do not encourage people in their wards and constituencies to partake.

“Before these meetings are conducted, advertisements are flighted well in time. It is up to community leaders and resident representatives to encourage people to attend. Some residents would not be aware of these meetings so constant reminders would actually improve the number of attendees at these meetings,” Dube said.

Source: Centre for Innovation and Technology (CITE)