The Sunday Mail
Government has a comprehensive devolution master plan that will see provinces assigned specific economic development responsibilities, Acting President Dr Constantino Chiwenga has said.
At a community meeting in Arcadia, Harare yesterday Dr Chiwenga — who is also Zanu-PF’s Second Secretary and Vice-President — said devolution was a constitutional obligation that would be vigorously implemented after the July 30, 2018 harmonised elections.
The master plan assigns Harare the role of Zimbabwe’s ICT centre, while Bulawayo will be the country’s industrial hub.
Manicaland will become the country’s diamond beneficiation centre and Midlands will be the heart of the iron and steel value chain and beneficiation.
The Zanu-PF Government, said Acting President Chiwenga, would prioritise economic development ahead of politics and would continue building solid ties with the international community.
“Now we come on to our slogan of the economy, we are talking of devolution of power and responsibilities to lower tiers of Government,” he said.
“This devolution, which will give responsibilities to all our provinces and metropolitan authorities, is a constitutional obligation. This entails the democratic participation in government by all citizens and communities in Zimbabwe, where province will run their own affairs using the resources which are at their disposal.
“For instance, Harare metropolitan province we have declared to be the ICT centre; that is what it will specifically be doing. Not that we are saying there will be no manufacturing. There will be heavy industries and there will be special economic zones – I think one or two now are being opened – but its flagship responsibility is to be the ICT centre. Employment will be created along those and other ancillary activities.
“Bulawayo is for industrialisation, Midlands will be iron and steel value chain beneficiation because they have all those.
“Manicaland – this is where we first found our diamonds, and they will be given the diamond beneficiation responsibility, the timber industry and everything to do with forestry will be in Manicaland as well as fruits. The Eastern Highlands are best for growing fruits.
“So each and every province will do what best they know and contribute to the national GDP,” said the Acting President.
He said Government was opening the economy to foreign and domestic investment as means of boosting job creation and development.
Ease of doing reforms, said Acting President Chiwenga, were being implemented and would contribute to greater FDI into Zimbabwe.
“The Zimbabwe we want is a Zimbabwe which we are going to enjoy, all of us; it’s the Zimbabwe we must leave for our children and grandchildren to appreciate, to say our father and grandfathers built a heaven on earth and this is what we want.
“The question is then how do we achieve this Zimbabwe we want. How do we achieve it? Our comprehensive visionary and people-centred manifesto – whose guiding principles are unity, reengagement, and engagement, development, fighting corruption and creating jobs – is self-explanatory.
“You cannot achieve anything if you are not united. United we stand divided we fall. We have clashed quite badly with even our friends and those who we did not share the same thinking with us and those are the people we are saying we are re-engaging and resolve our differences.
“… that is why the President came up with the mantra ‘Zimbabwe is Open for Business’. And we also removed those impediments which were making us not a favourable destination for either co-operation with other countries and foreign or local direct investment. People would rather keep their money fearing the bad policies which were not consistent.”
Acting President Chiwenga emphasised that Government was committed to free, fair and credible elections, characterised by peaceful campaigning and transparency.
He said the June 23 terror attack targetting President Emmerson Mnangagwa would not deter Government from holding free, fair and credible elections.
“Those who had the intention of marring (the peaceful environment) and maybe thought there would be a state of emergency – no we will not do that. Actually, they chose the wrong target,” he said.