Despite the government’s claims that it is committed to devolution of power, some people in Harare received a contract to clear the bushes along the Bulawayo-Victoria Falls highway road, defying a policy that locals must be the ones contracted to do such jobs, CITE heard.
The issue reportedly worried Minister of State for Bulawayo Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Judith Ncube, who questioned how a contract to do menial jobs such as chopping wood and clearing the bush on the Bulawayo to Victoria Falls highway was awarded to non-locals.
This was revealed by former war veterans minister and Zanu-PF Politburo member, Tshinga Dube, at a press conference with Bulawayo journalists on the occasion of Africa Day, Tuesday, who noted some individuals were failing to fulfil government policies resulting in marginalisation.
“We are worried when we hear such a thing because, again, it’s not institutional or that the government sits down and says ‘we’re going to make people from this part of the country suffer.’ It is individuals who may not be fulfilling proper government policies that way,” he said.
Dube said he advised the provincial and devolution minister to put a stop to that as that defied the devolution policy.
“I said, ‘No, no but you are a minister of devolution yourself, so you stop them and say no. You have people here who can do that.’ I don’t think you need to go for training just to chop wood anyone can chop wood. Let people there discuss with people in Matabeleland North because that’s where they live. Hire boys along the road just from Bulawayo and then they can chop wood,” Dube said.
The outspoken politician added that locals must receive opportunities in their respective areas.
“In Bulawayo, we have people from all regions and they are all Bulawayans. Some come from Malawi, some Masvingo, Mutare and Zambia. As long as they live in Bulawayo, they are Bulawayo citizens – they can chop wood. You can ask them to go chop wood but not to take people from Harare to chop wood here because it means a boy who has never worked here, will never have an opportunity of having some small pocket money to buy a Coca-Cola,” Dube said.
“I think we have to correct those things, if we know but we cannot generalise them.”
Dube also said some scrupulous individuals committed offences and hid behind the president’s name.
“The other thing I’ve always said is people make some of these mistakes and you find that it all ends up ‘like the president has given directives’ for it to be done that way. I’m sure he does not. He will never give such directives and we have a lot of people who work with him. We have the Parliament, Cabinet, Politburo, Central Committee, POLAD – all those people who work with him,” said the Politburo member.
“It would be very difficult if something goes wrong, you just go back and blame one person. We must always blame ourselves sometimes because we are not doing what we are supposed to do. Someone said if you point one finger at someone, you must know the other three are pointing back at you.”
Contacted for comment, the provincial minister said devolution was necessary so that local youth also benefit from such job opportunities.
“You will recall that when President Mnangagwa came to commission water projects in Nyamandlovu, he spoke of the Gwayi-Shangani pipeline and said for devolution, not one company must do the job but several so that locals have a role in working on that pipeline,” Ncube said, adding that her office would keep an eye on contractors who defied government policy.
“We all have a role in building Zimbabwe so we must listen and correct each other where we go wrong.”
Meanwhile, Tshinga indicated there are government workers who are not doing their job properly and sometimes become too overzealous.
His sentiments came in the backdrop of news that people organised by a Bulawayo-based pressure group, Ibhetshu LikaZulu to go erect a plaque for the Gukurahundi victims at Bhalagwe in Maphisa, were detained by police on their way to the event.
Bhalagwe is one of the areas that bore the brunt of the Fifth Brigade operations, with the elite force running a concentration camp in that area.
“As far as I’m concerned there shouldn’t be someone who is refused to perform his rituals. There’s nothing violent in it, it’s just a belief like anybody else does. I thought the president said people must be very open about Gukurahundi. He has repeatedly said that, so it should not be something that will involve repercussions from the law enforcements. Sometimes people are overzealous in doing their job and do what they are not supposed to do,” said the former war veterans minister.
“There are people who are not doing their job, you can tell, for instance looking at all these people who have been persecuted for going to put stones in Bhalagwe. It’s completely wrong. I don’t think it’s a directive from above, it’s just overzealous policemen who were doing it because they thought they were doing the right thing.”