BY SILAS NKALA
MATABELELAND human rights and political activists have blasted the ruling Zanu PF party and the opposition MDC formations for letting the region down by not fostering development.
This came out during last week’s virtual debate conducted by the Nkayi Community Parliament where activists described Zanu PF and MDC leaders in Matabeleland as “stooges” who have been in politics for years but are failing to promote development.
Activist Mbonisi Gumbo said politicians from the region represented their interests.
“Zanu PF and MDCs will not change their stance on Matabeleland. We will not get development as long as they are running our affairs in local government,” Gumbo said.
MDC Alliance Matabeleland North chairperson Prince Dubeko Sibanda, a former Binga South MP, said the problem was that once elected into office, most representatives lose focus.
“My personal view on why Matabeleland appears to be left out from the development agenda of the nation is that by its nature, our development trajectory is such that people with an opportunity to get into the executive use government resources to develop their own areas. That was the general development trajectory of this country since 1980,” Sibanda said.
He added that Matabeleland had been let down by leaders who failed to push for its development.
“That is very sad, I can give you a list of known prominent Zanu PF politicians from Matabeleland who had an opportunity of getting into the Executive and being very influential, but they failed to translate that into tangible development in the Matabeleland region as a whole. So before pointing fingers at others, let’s start pointing at ourselves,” Sibanda said.
He said Matabeleland had Vice-Presidents coming from the area that were supposed to advocate for the development of the region, but failed.
Matabeleland North Provincial Affairs minister Richard Moyo, who is also Zanu PF provincial chairperson, said President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s new dispensation had no deliberate policy to under-develop Matabeleland.
“If marginalisation was happening in the past, you cannot link that to the second republic which is working for the people,” Moyo said.
Matabeleland North and South have had top political leadership in Zanu PF and MDC such as Moyo himself, former Mines minister Obert Mpofu of Umguza, Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda of Binga, Finance minister Mthuli Ncube of Lupane, ex-Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko (Bulawayo) and Women Affairs minister Sithembiso Nyoni (Bulawayo).
“In Matabeleland South, there is Abednego Ncube, Kembo Mohadi, Andrew Langa, the Late Obedingwa Mguni, and Dingumuzi Phuthi who are all, or have been in the Executive.
The opposition had Lovemore Moyo (former Speaker of the National Assembly, Moses Mzila Ndlovu, Welshman Ncube, Thokozani Khupe, who were all once in the Executive.