Lovemore Chikova Development Dialogue
Pushing the development agenda as anchored on the devolution concept requires Zimbabweans to realise that working hard and having unity of purpose are the prerequisite for success.
All people in the provinces at whatever levels of operations will need to pull in one direction to ensure that everyone participates in local development, and is not left behind.
The concept of devolution as explained in the Constitution entails the apportioning of decision-making powers to people at the grassroots levels, who will be able to chart the way forward in terms of economic development and developmental projects.
This calls for everyone to adopt a new thinking and attitude towards work if they will be able to create a bright future with progress and growth in all facets.
The honeymoon is over, not only for Government officials at their different work stations, but everyone is required to work extra hard to ensure the successful implementation of the new developmental concepts being pursued by the New Dispensation.
What Zimbabweans need to understand is that happiness does not occur from the blue, they have to participate and work hard to realise their dreams.
A new work ethic that compels identifying, planning and implementing projects within communities needs everyone to realise that they have a role to play in the development of the country.
Devolution avails an opportunity for people to participate in the development of their localities, be it at provincial or council level.
No one should feel left behind because everyone has a role to play in development through this concept, which avails an opportunity to those with ideas to bring them on the table for the development of their areas.
This calls for provincial structures of both the Government and the ruling party, Zanu PF, to start giving guidance to the people on what should be done to ensure that the development agenda has the buy-in of everyone.
Revisiting and empowering the lower level developmental structures like the once vibrant ward development committees and village development committees should be one of the steps towards encompassing participation.
These committees have the potential to successfully lead the developmental agenda at the local level, as ideas emanate from the people at the grassroots who know their priorities in development.
But people who do not have a culture of work usually fail to accomplish their goals and hardly realise their dreams, despite how beautiful those dreams may be.
The work includes coming up with innovative ideas that can be developed into fully-fledged projects and programmes for the advancement of local communities.
This is where the change in tertiary education curriculum to Education 5.0 being pushed by the Government becomes handy, as students are now being trained to work hard, innovate and invent, as they unleash their potential.
Education 5.0 is about refocusing the system to produce graduates who are technically equipped to innovate and provide solutions to long time developmental problems affecting the country.
Technical expertise is of paramount importance, and graduates coming from colleges and universities should go back to their respective provinces, where they can fully implement their innovations.
It should be the norm under devolution that graduates do not seek employment in big cities like Harare and Bulawayo, but seek opportunities in rural provinces to help impart their acquired knowledge for the development of those areas.
These young people should be given space to unleash their potential which came through years of training through the innovation hubs that were set up at universities by Government.
More opportunities are created when people are innovative enough and provide solutions to development which is relevant to the people.
Working hard should be the watch word for these young people, who must also know that developing a province, a district or a ward does not take a single step.
It requires extra work and being consistent and principled towards achieving set goals, and with hard work, certain obstacles to local development can easily be overcome.
The goal of these efforts being to achieve modernisation and industrialisation of the country in line with Vision 2030 of achieving an upper middle income being propounded by President Mnangagwa.
As a result, the implementation of devolution should ensure that opportunities for industrialisation become available in all parts of the country, a departure from a situation in which heavy production centres are found in big cities alone.
The burden now lies on those entrusted with mobilising people in their localities towards achieving targets set under devolution.
Apart from working hard, there should be unity and harmony among the people to ensure that everyone pulls in the same direction when it comes to implementing projects under devolution.
Days when officials would haggle and politicise development should pave way to genuine desire for progress within the provinces, not only from the provincial leaders, but from every citizen in those areas.
President Mnangagwa has already pronounced that it is now about the economy, with politics taking a back seat, and that should be the principle officials should follow to bring development to their areas.
The spirit of working together will lead to the implementation of developmental concepts in peace and harmony, as people pull in one direction.
Speaking one language of development by the officials in the provinces will lead to a buy-in by the people when it comes to implementation of projects under devolution. The officials should be able to explain to the people that devolution is for their benefit, as it aims to change their localities to modernisation.
The mentality that “it can’t be done” should be shaken off by everyone concerned to ensure that when it comes to implementation, there is confidence that the project can make it.
This requires correct information that unites the people being cascaded to the grassroots because without proper coordination, devolution will be difficult to implement.
There should be a good working relationship among all those concerned from central Government, to provincial offices and districts, wards and villages.
Unity of purpose will lead to well thought out projects whose chances of failure are minimal because of the amount of input everyone contributes.
Zimbabweans should start the habit of competing to come up with solutions to problems that confront the nation, and this should be the norm at the local level, as the implementation of devolution takes shape.
The Constitution provides for provincial councils in Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland East, Mashonaland West, Manicaland, Masvingo, Midlands, Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South provinces.
There will be metropolitan councils in Harare and Bulawayo provinces because they are urban areas.
The provincial and metropolitan councils are empowered to initiate social economic development in their respective provinces through various means.