The Devolution Debate and the New Constitution of Zimbabwe: An Exploratory Evaluation


At the centre of the devolution debate are issues of spatial and territorial organization, natural resources management and fiscal resource allocation. Devolution protagonists argue for space for increased popular participation and substantive powers to the local people in their quest for identity and self-determination. Nevertheless, fears against the adoption of devolution emerge from the viewpoint of regional disparities and unevenness. To understand the devolution debate in the Zimbabwe constitution making process, we draw parallels from a number of countries where the devolutionist agenda has constituted significant root as well as contestation – Brazil, India, Kenya, Ghana and the United Kingdom. Through textual and discourse analysis, we find a common ground upon which the devolution thrust as now enshrined in the new constitution can bring harmonious development in the unfolding Zimbabwe. Critical to note are issues of diamond and other mineral ‘discoveries’ in the period of the debate, the long-time debates of the underdevelopment of Matabeleland region, and the new concept of community ownership trusts. We conclude that devolution is challenging to implement on a radical scale since the elites in power should be the ones to give up functions and resources.


Context of the Devolution Debate
Literature Review and Conceptual Framework
Case Studies in the Devolution Debate and Practice
The Zimbabwean Devolution Debate
Discussion and Policy Alternatives

Read this next


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here