By Leopold Munhende
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has hit out at pro-Matebeleland groups campaigning for the country’s split to create a separate Ndebele state while claiming the region was deliberately being side-lined in terms of development.
Speaking while officially opening the 17th Zanu PF annual national people’s conference in Esigodini on Friday, Mnangagwa urged his party to be wary of the secessionist groups.
“I now ask this conference to be very attentive as I say this,” Mnangagwa said.
“As we implement devolution, let us all remain mindful that this republic is a unitary state. It is a unitary with diverse cultures, languages, beliefs, religions but remains united.
“I am aware of elements who preach secessionism, pasi navo (down with them),” he said to applause from party the faithful attending the event.
Mnangagwa’s statements are in response to the Mthwakazi Liberation Front (MLF) which has for long sought the establishment of a Mthwakazi Republic consisting of Matebeleland provinces, part of Masvingo and the greater part of Midlands province.
Calls for the reestablishment of the Ndebele monarchy have also been interpreted as attempts towards secession.
Mnangagwa reiterated government’s pledges to devolution, a sticking issue right from former President Robert Mugabe’s era.
He acknowledged Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube’s efforts in the realisation of the government policy.
“Our finance minister Mthuli Ncube gave you $310 million for devolution, to be disbursed across all provinces meaning each province is set to receive $31 million which you must sit and decide on how to use it.
“Every province has particular and specific resources. Government, guided by the party, is putting in place the legislative framework to implement devolution. This is set to see the actualisation of the concept of provincial economies,” he added.
Implementation of devolution will see the setting up of provincial council which will oversee development in respective provinces with central government playing an oversight role.
It is seen as the only policy with the capacity to pull underdeveloped regions such as Matebeleland provinces and Manicaland out of their poverty hole by harnessing the value of resources in respective areas.