Youths in Matabeleland have been urged to acquaint themselves with the devolution of power clauses in the constitution so that they can meaningfully participate in the implementation process.
Speaking at a Youth Indaba hosted by Habakkuk Trust, Community Youth Development Trust director Sichasisile Ndlovu, said youths the youth realise their capacity and make the most of opportunities such as devolution to their benefit.
Devolution of power is seen as a more democratic governance system that will ensure citizens benefit directly from natural resources in their communities.
Ndlovu said young people need to be educated on the tenants of devolution to enable them to fully participate in the process.
“Young people must identify resources they require as well as their needs and be able to prioritise them. They must lobby for them and ensure they fully benefit from resources in their communities,” she said.
“In the mining sector, for example, 95% of the resources were awarded to EPOs leaving a meagre 5% for local people. These are some of the most important issues devolution is supposed to straighten out”.
Ndlovu said women should lobby for equitable distribution of resources so that they also benefit.
She said local people need to monitor that those put in power deliver services in a transparent manner.
“As young people, we need to realise that when devolution gets implemented there may be selfish people with selfish motives. We, therefore, need to lobby for good governance, make sure that those in power are aware of the people’s needs and give special attention to their peculiarities,” said Ndlovu.
Zimbabwe Centre for Media and Information Literacy director Divine Dube, said youths need to be well informed of current affairs to be able to interrogate the process of devolution.
He said for devolution to work people in power should be non-partisan to ensure equal distribution of resources.
“As young people, we are mandated to assume the duty to monitor the way people in power rule under devolution. While at it we need to ensure peace prevails in the area and that there will be visible development,” he said.
“We need to identify people with parallel agendas. These can be those who are strongly affiliated to certain political parties and will be working against the development of the area.
“There has to be an Act of Parliament that will provide for such individuals to be arrested or otherwise dealt with accordingly”.
Dube said although people from Matabeleland are the most vocal about devolution, it does not mean it should be limited to this province only.
“We need to realise that the new dispensation has acknowledged devolution but did not specify how it will work hence there are dangers of it being implemented in a manipulative manner,” said Dube.
He added that according to the Constitution, for devolution to be implemented there has to be an Act of Parliament thereby creating a danger that the Act could be biased.
“There is the likelihood that devolution will be presided over by Ministers of State who are ZANU-PF appointees,” Dube warned.
“We can’t talk about devolving resources without talking about power. We need to make sure we know who is in control and what they stand for so they can ensure that devolution is carried out transparently”.
Habakkuk Trust director Dumisani Nkomo emphasised that devolution should not be tribalised but should focus on availing resources for the benefit of local people.
“Devolution is not supposed to be a tribal issue but it is all about devolving power to the people at the local level. Once the issue is tribalised then it ceases to be taken seriously,” said Nkomo.