Communities get raw deal from politicians: CCDZ report

The Centre for Community Development in Zimbabwe has identified the lack of consultation and a partisan distribution of resources as the two main problems hampering the development of communities.

According to a CCDZ report titled “Capacity building of grass-root communities and local leadership”, there was unanimity over the imposition of ideas and implementation of projects by local leadership which include councillors, chiefs, Members of Parliament and village heads. The most astonishing was the revelation in Chirumanzi’s Gambiza area where citizens were given cotton seeds despite the fact that their land is not suitable for cotton farming.

In Godzi Village, Chiweshe, one elderly man narrated that their community was not informed about Constituency Development Fund. They were just invited at Gweshe Secondary School where some buildings had been roofed and desks bought using the funds.

”They should have consulted us before doing that. What if we wanted a dip tank first?” he said. In all the areas visited by CCDZ in Mashonaland, citizens were complaining that the council just imposed a $3 annual tax per household. There were also widespread complaints that citizens were not invited to budget meetings. “Two or three people who work for the council just sit down and come up with a budget, maybe according to what they read in their books whilst at school”, said one headman in Doro Village, Hurungwe.

About 69 % of the people who were asked about supposedly consultative processes, such as public hearings on the Electoral Amendment Bill, Constitution Making Process and local government, expressed ignorance about the issues at stake.

It also emerged that most things which are supposed to help communities are being distributed on partisan lines. These include agricultural inputs, food and even anti-retroviral drugs. The agricultural inputs are going to communities courtesy of The Presidential Input Scheme, and only Zanu (PF) supporters are benefitting. In Karereshe Village, Karoi, perceived MDC-T supporters were reportedly told to source their own resources from “the West who are their masters”.

The report said fertilizer and seeds provided by government through the Grain Marketing Board in areas like Muzarabani, Mutoko, Murewa, Uzumba and Marondera benefitted mostly Zanu (PF) members.

“One common factor is that there is friction between Zanu (PF) leadership and MDC-T leadership. For example in Magunje’s ward 23, Budwell Chasara belongs to Zanu (PF) while the MP Toro Chambati is MDC. In some constituencies where Zanu (PF) councillors were trounced they are still being recognized as winners and control the resources. They can also hold meetings whenever they like, but MDC-T officials cannot. In constituencies where there is an MDC-T councillor, citizens are not allowed to attend meetings,” said George Makoni, the CCDZ information officer.

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