Zapu says the concept of devolution enshrined in the country’s constitution is watered down, as it fails to capture the essence of empowering locals in their diverse communities.
The party also said the slow pace at which devolution was being implemented speaks volumes about the government’s ‘selfish’ centralisation policy.
This view was said by Zapu’s parliamentary candidate for Pumula, Richard Ncube, who said the opposition party had ‘arguably’ been championing devolution but was disappointed by the unwillingness of authorities to fully adopt it.
“Zapu believes in devolution but not the one drafted in the constitution because the devolution in the constitution is watered down and different from the one, we in ZAPU believe in,” said Ncube at an election debate series held in Old Pumula, Tuesday.
The election debate series are organised by CITE in partnership with the Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) ahead of the March 26 by-elections.
Ncube said the party believes people are supposed to have localised leadership where the power to lead was devolved down to locals.
“Zapu believes that a Venda person in Beitbridge must lead there, to promote the recognition of their culture, use of language because that person is familiar and knows their culture. Zapu believes that locals of a certain place should be the first ones to benefit or receive job opportunities,” he said.
“It also follows that someone who wants to be an MP in Masvingo must be a Karanga, who knows the culture of those locals and works with people in a way they all understand. ZAPU does not agree with conception that someone from Matabeleland North goes and be a councillor in Masvingo where he can’t even speak their local language. This person will be unable to help the locals of Masvingo or be able to promote their culture and language.”
Ncube said local resources must be used to develop those communities.
“The wealth in Binga must be used to grow the area. That is the devolution we as ZAPU are talking about, where people have power to articulate what they want done in their area,” said the aspiring MP who said he would be a servant leader.
“I will inculcate servant leadership to all leaders, even those who run WhatsApp groups as they must listen to what people say.”
Ncube said in line with devolution, residents of Pumula must be able to tell him what he must say in Parliament.
“As your servant, you must use me the way you see fit. As your spokesperson, I must deliver. I will bring coerciveness in Pumula, coordinate all activities” he noted.
The aspiring MP said his vision was to create Pumula into a “model constituency, where other constituencies copied how development was done.”
“Pumula must be well administered and well managed so that we can build it together,” he said.
Another candidate, Thabani Tshuma, an independent, claimed he would bring a different and new approach within the constituency.
“The ideas are in my head and if you don’t vote for me, it won’t work. So, test me and see for yourself,” he said.
Tshuma noted that an MP could not create employment but could administer projects.
However, the independent candidate said these projects could succeed provided the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) was available.
“If the CDF doesn’t come it’s a non-starter. The money must come to the MPs and when it doesn’t, we fail. The government must make sure the CDF comes on time and the MPs must also make sure they have plans on how to use money, not treat it like a lotto,” Tshuma said.
“As a constituency, we must meet, discuss and plan what to do when the money comes. We can’t just use money without a plan.”
The independent candidate also urged MPs to constantly meet with people time and again.
“So, whoever gets in must know what people want, they can’t just guess but must decide alongside with the people,” Tshuma summed.