Devolution of power in Zimbabwe is shifting dynamics from cultural and ethnic divisions to an economic discourse, an academic has noted.
Presenting at a recent symposium on devolution, Dr Nqobizitha Dube an economics lecturer at the National University of Science and Technology (NUST) in Bulawayo said devolution has become an economic discourse which is justified by a need to control resources.
“Devolution is gradually moving from being associated with ethnic, cultural and geographical divisions, and shifting to marginalisation and the differences in economic power,” said Dr Dube.
Dr Dube defined devolution as individual provinces in a state or country which are self-governing and self-determining.
“There has been some form of decentralisation in Zimbabwe but given what the constitution says clearly it seems like it is not working and we want something else,” the academic said.
“We are not attempting to break the country into small pieces but rather we want people to be self-determining”.
He said the fiscal side of devolution should also be explained in order to discuss how to equitably share resources.
“What is clear is we don’t know how to carry out the aspects of decentralization. If we are to pursue fiscal devolution, we have to be clear on how it is to be carried out,” said Dr Dube.
The economics lecturer said the results of fiscal devolution are observed at the grassroots level.
“We expect to be getting a better satisfaction of needs from the council which will be more aligned to the grassroots as they have a better understanding of the needs of local people,” said Dr Dube.
Dr Dube said a province with the most resources has higher chances of benefitting the most in a devolved society.
“In a devolved society, the defacto leader becomes the one whose province has the most money and has an overbearing impact on the central government,” he said.
“Whatever the governor of the richest province says, it is done”.
Dr Dube however, said in a devolved society there should be transparency and accountability, providing opportunities for everyone despite their diverse backgrounds.