MUTARE – Corruption and lack of political will to prosecute perpetrators by the country’s top political leadership will seriously hamper the genuine process of implementing devolution in Manicaland, the Mutare business community and residents have said.
This came out during a Research and Advocacy Unit (RAU) and Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung organised workshop held in Mutare on Wednesday, which ran under the theme: “Reweaving and Enlivening the Economic Fabric in Mutare, Implication of Devolution on Business.”
The stakeholders said the whole process was being speared headed by
corrupt political leaders some of them who have not been prosecuted,
who will participate in the devolution to satisfy their personal gains.
Former Mutare Mayor and businessman Brian James said the business
community has begun lacking confidence in the devolution process as
they have been left out in most strategic meetings.
“Usually during the meetings to discuss about devolution, we the
business community have been left out to contribute,” he said.
“The fact that the meetings are attended by those within and close to
certain political ranks, those few from the business community that
attend the meeting have expressed fear of retribution,” said James.
James said corruption was high at central government level and
excreted at local government levels, a move which he argued will
genuinely affect the devolution process.
“These institutions will be involved in the devolution so to end
corruption in this process, the government should speedily devolve
power to the provincial councils that are set up by the different
stakeholders, where there are stronger mechanisms and cultures of
transparency and accountability,” James said.
Speaking at the same occasion prominent lawyer Passmore Nyakureba said devolution was enshrined in the constitution, but he doubted its
proper implementation process and impact.
“As a country we have had enough corruption and red tape in these
schemes and we do not want to create more corruption. To
me, devolution does not exist,” he said.
The United Mutare Residents and Ratepayers Association Programmes
Officer Edson Dube gave the looting and plundering of Marange
resources as another classic example, where the community is in poverty amidst plenty of diamonds.
“When we want to talk of proper devolution lets first look at the
issue of Manicaland. We have gold and diamonds but the province is one of the poorest in the country. The communities have not benefited from their resources, so it will be very difficult to talk about
devolution,” said Dube.
Dube said the issue of diamonds in Manicaland should be a perfect
example of why the residents have lacked confidence in devolution.
The Director of RAU Shastry Njeru said his organisation has been
holding meetings throughout the country to have contributions from
various stakeholders in as far as devolution is concerned.
“We are researchers and out job is to have information from various
stakeholders. In this case we are in Mutare talking about devolution
especially in this new dispensation and we are happy that the
stakeholders are making their contributions which we hope will shape
the issues of devolution,” Njeru said.
Zimbabwe has been ranked among the most corrupt countries in Africa.