ZAPU has reiterated calls for devolution, saying it is disappointed that provincial councils have not yet been established in line with the Constitution.
BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
Under section 264(2) of the Constitution, provincial authorities are supposed to be given more powers, by central government, to run their affairs and other responsibilities.
Matthew Sibanda, Zapu Matabeleland South provincial chairperson, said failure to devolve powers was the reason Matabeleland has witnessed land disputes involving locals and government officials from other provinces.
Early this year, State security agent, Rodney Mashingaidze was allocated Maleme Ranch in Matobo, which belonged to Peter Cunningham.
The move was met with resistance from traditional chiefs, villagers, opposition parties and civic society activists, forcing the former to retreat.
They said Maleme was their only source of livelihood, as they operated many farming and poultry projects bankrolled by Cunningham, and said Mashingaidze should invade land in his home province. “Zapu has been visiting the provinces under its Masikhulume/Lets Talk programme, engaging communities and their concerns are the same. They all want devolution of power as enshrined in the Constitution,” Sibanda said.
“As a party, we are also saddened and disappointed that power has not been devolved to the provinces, hence, we are seeing locals, for example in Matabeleland, being denied land in favour of outsiders. We have seen a number of top government officials, most of them from outside the region, clashing with villagers here in Matabeleland over land.
“The feeling from the villagers is that if there was devolution, none of this would be happening, as they would be in charge of their land and other resources.”
The new Constitution created eight provincial councils and two metropolitan provincial councils – Harare and Bulawayo. Failure to devolve powers has seen radical groups such as the Mthwakazi Liberation Front demanding secession.