A new dawn for local communities
BY Paidamoyo Muzulu
Is this a Zanu PF plot to claim all the successes, especially in the physical infrastructure of education and health, water, roads and electricity?
If the central government, a government that has long failed to deliver services, takes over the financing of education and health facilities, water roads and electricity, will this not collapse? it not more service delivery?
For a moment, let’s put all that aside and see how the system will work in reality.
Zanu PF is ahead of the opposition in the deployment of cadres. Political parties will become more powerful because they will use a model given by the state to select candidates for public office in local communities.
The opposition will have a new kind of headache. Since 2000, it is the brave militants who have stood as candidates. They had nothing to lose against the political violence of the Zanu PF, which the educated and working class feared.
How will the opposition activists who have dared to risk their lives react? Will they stop their political activism and make room for the educated to campaign alone?
Will this new law perpetually stop the poor and the peasants from dreaming of exercising public functions?
This brings us to another problem. Isn’t it prudent that the law has been changed to create a new electoral system?
Can Zimbabwe do better by simply adopting proportional representation in local government? That kills two birds with one stone. Parties will have the latitude to establish party lists based on nominations from party structures.
Courageous activists will at the same time feel useful if they have a say in the selection of those who will be registered on the party lists.
However, the downside is that there is no guarantee that educated councilors are not corrupt or mismanage local authority affairs.
This is a pivotal moment for Zimbabweans. This is an issue that requires a frank national debate about what a leader is and how they should be selected. Why hasn’t the same principle been applied to parliament or the president’s office?
Zimbabwe has witnessed the collapse of state-owned enterprises over the decades. Mismanagement has largely been committed by educated Zanu PF deployed since independence. This could be another diversionary tactic or simply a way to distance the opposition from the control of local authorities. Time will tell us.
- Paidamoyo Muzulu is a journalist based in Harare. He writes here in a personal capacity.