Patrick Chitumba Midlands Bureau Chief
ZIMBABWE is maturing as a democracy and in politics as evidenced by the devolution drive spearheaded by the Second Republic, but will however remain a Unitary State in the wake of the provincial and local governments.
In an interview on the sidelines of the Sweden and International Centre for Local Democracy (ICLD) 2019 Capacitating Local Leaders workshop in Gweru yesterday, the Deputy Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, Jennifer Mhlanga said devolution should be used to unite and develop the country.
“So local authorities are now taking centre stage in terms of stimulating economic activities whereby we have even changed the titles of Provincial Administrator to Provincial Coordinating Director with a thrust of really having an economic impetus.
“We are saying we are maturing as a democracy, we are maturing in terms of our politics but we also want to get into the sphere, we also want to take a leaf from the Swedish Government and other best practice countries, and move away from just being politically emancipated but move on to be economically emancipated,” she said.
Deputy Minister Mhlanga said local authorities are going to be engines of economic growth and are expected to rejuvenate the economy.
“Ultimately they should be contributing in socio-economic development of the country. Provinces should contribute to the provincial gross domestic product and ultimately into the national gross domestic product,” she said.
She said with the coming in of the National Government, the Provincial Government and the Local Governments, the country remains a Unitary State which is going to achieve a higher status of social economic emancipation.
She commended the Swedish Government, ICLD, and Genderlinks in advocating for the inclusion of women in all facets of the economy to stimulate economic growth.
“We want to continue working with Sweden in all realms such as investments as you know that Zimbabwe is open for business and our people can invest,” said Deputy Minister Mhlanga.
Mrs Shannon lovgren ICLD programmes officer said the ongoing Capacitating Local Leaders programme has different stages which include personal leadership and institutional knowledge.
“These leaders should know their jobs, they should know the Constitution and they should know what is expected of them in local governance. They will also visit Sweden for two weeks for information exchange were they will learn on issues like how leaders there provide service to the citizens.”