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Zimbabwe's Mugabe Objects to Devolution of Power Push

  • Jonga Kandemiiri

The Movement for Democratic Change and some civic groups have come out in support of devolution saying the system will level development in all provinces, some of them long neglected by the current unitary state

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has waded into the long-running constitutional debate over devolution of power, voicing concern that the concept will divide the country if included in a new charter.

The country is also too small to be divided into pieces, Mr. Mugabe told state TV Sunday.

The Movement for Democratic Change and some civic groups have come out in support of devolution saying the system will level development in all provinces, some of them long neglected by the current unitary state.

But some in ZANU-PF oppose the idea fearing it will lead to federalism or cessation. Tsvangirai MDC co-chairman Douglas Mwonzora, of the panel leading the new constitution effort told VOA that all the provinces support devolution of power.

Mwonzora's ZANU-PF counterpart Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana said his party worried the system would have undesirable ramifications. "Other people are now pushing for us to create parliaments in provinces... this will possibly lead to cessation."

Political analyst Farai Maguwu of the Centre for Research and Development in Mutare told VOA reporter Jonga Kandemiiri that the concept is commendable, adding it would lead to the development of all areas.

Elsewhere, South Africa’s foreign affairs minister appeared to dismiss Mr. Mugabe’s push for elections without political reforms saying Pretoria expects full implementation of the Global Political Agreement and a new constitution before any balloting.

Answering questions in Parliament on Monday, Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said President Jacob Zuma, facilitating the Harare crisis on behalf of the Southern African Development Community, did not expect “any deviation from the provisions of the GPA.”

Mugabe last week doubled-down on his call for new polls without a new charter, accusing the MDC of stalling the process. He has also ruled out other democratic reforms pushed including a change of security chiefs.

Spokesman Nhlanhla Dube of the MDC formation led by Welshman Ncube told VOA reporter Ntungamili Nkomo that Pretoria should push hard for Mr. Mugabe to embrace reforms before new elections.

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