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Zimbabwe's Movement for Democratic Change Backs Proposals for Decentralization

  • Ntungamili Nkomo

Addressing a rally in Bulawayo on Sunday, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, head of the larger MDC grouping, said Zimbabweans should press for devolution in the on-going constitutional revision outreach exercise

Both formations of Zimbabwe's Movement for Democratic Change have come out strongly in favor of devolution of power from the central government to local authorities or provincial assemblies, arguing that such a decentralized system will ensure a more fair distribution of resources to all provinces.

Addressing a rally in Bulawayo on Sunday, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, head of the larger MDC grouping, said Zimbabweans should press for devolution in the on-going constitutional revision outreach exercise.

“Devolution does not mean secession," Mr. Tsvangirai declared. "It does not mean separation. It is not about tribalism. It is about sharing the national cake equally.”

The provinces of Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South, home to the ethnic minority Ndebele, are leading the drive for devolution, accusing the central government of marginalizing the region over the years.

Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, head of the smaller MDC formation for which the Matabeleland capital of Bulawayo is a stronghold, said that Zimbabweans should seriously consider this form of governance citing the United States and South Africa as examples of strongly decentralized countries that are flourishing.

But ZANU-PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo disagreed, telling VOA Studio 7 reporter Blessing Zulu that his party does not support devolution, arguing that the unitary system in place since independence in 1980 works pretty well.

Commenting on the debate, political analyst George Mkhwanazi said he is pleased Mr. Tsvangirai and Mr. Mutambara are presenting devolution not as a concept only relevant to Matabeleland, but as a valid national option.

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