Ex-Parly Speaker Lovemore Moyo Demands Independent Devolution Councils

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By Bulawayo Correspondent

FORMER Speaker of Parliament, Lovemore Moyo has come out from his long political hibernation to demand the creation of autonomous provincial devolution councils.

The former MDC-T national chair, now leader of little known United Movement for Devolution (UMD) party, said current devolution structures created by government only served the ruling Zanu PF party’s interests and were distanced from any obligations to champion local development.

Moyo, who made history in 2008 by becoming the first Speaker of Parliament from the opposition, said autonomous provincial structures will bring the much needed development and economic growth closer to communities.

“The UMD argues that the current provincial structures cannot promote development and economic prosperity but merely serves a political purpose as an extension of Harare with no obligations to champion local development,” Moyo told in an interview.

“However, this is in sharp contrast to the UMD’s political and developmental model which is anchored on devolution and the right to self-determination and governance of our provinces across the country.

“Therefore, we propose the creation of autonomous regions or provinces with an expanded political and economic base in order to adequately meet their developmental requirements,” he said.

The former lawmaker said UMD’s envisaged devolution structures should have legislative and executive authority to effectively manage their affairs.

“The envisaged provincial and local governments must have legislative and executive authority for them to effectively manage the affairs in their provinces and local authorities. In this regard, provincial governments must be headed by an elected governor accountable to the people of that particular province not a political appointee.

“For the effective administration of local authorities and efficient delivery of services to the ratepayers and residents, the mayors must have executive authority in decision making,” said Moyo.

He also proposed the reduction of the current provinces in the country from eight to five, and renaming them.

“Our view is that devolution of power can be useful and effective under reconfigured and reduced provinces from the current eight to five. At the same time, the renaming of the proposed five provinces must be done in a non- discriminatory, non-racial and culturally appropriate manner.

“Further, our view is that the continued retention of colonial names with tribal connotations and labels is retrogressive and has lost its relevance in an independent Zimbabwe. For instance, renaming Matabeleland as Mthwakazi is worth considering,” said Moyo.

The former Matobo MP also decried what he described as the continued marginalisation of minority communities in the country.

“Of great concern in this instance is the continued tribal inequality and injustice perpetuated by the State against the so-called ethnic minorities. Ultimately, the aggrieved communities which constitute a substantial part of our population feel grossly marginalised, dominated, underdeveloped, and tribally segregated by the State and its institutions,” he said.

Moyo said this has seen the mushrooming of regional based radical political pressure groups.

“The continued institutionalised marginalisation of the so-called minority has prompted some political activists in Matabeleland to call for a two-state solution.

“Consequently, this has necessitated the formation of numerous pro-separationist, restorationist and cessationist movements who are now advocating for an independent Matabeleland or Mthwakazi State. Also, at the centre of Zimbabwe’s problems is the crisis of governance, legitimacy and leadership,” he added.

Matabeleland based regional parties like Mthwakazi Republic Party (MRP) and Matabeleland Liberation Organization (MLO) have been calling for the separation of Matabeleland region from the rest of the country.