Home » Governance » Zanu-PF Infights Hinder Mash East Growth

Mashonaland East province is undoubtedly one of the least developed provinces in the country and the current instability within Zanu PF is worsening matters.

The province has an area of 32 230 kmsup2; and a population of approximately 1,35 million. It has nine districts namely Wedza, Marondera (provincial capital), Manyame, Mutoko, Murewa, Chikomba, Nyamapanda, Mudzi and Goromonzi.

Factionalism which has paralysed Zanu PF was reportedly born in Mashonaland East, which is also the home of expelled former Vice-President Joice Mujuru.

Between September 2013 and July 2015, the province has already been under the leadership of three ministers, something that local political analysts have described as a major hindrance to development.

After the 2013 harmonised elections, Mugabe appointed Uzumba legislator Simbaneuta Mudarikwa as the provincial affairs minister. He was booted out in December last year after being accused of being alligned to the Mujuru faction.

During his tenure Mudarikwa was unable to do anything as far as development is concerned in the province.

He was replaced by Joel Biggie Matiza who was then deputy Local Government minister.

Matiza brought life to the province, but his efforts were in vain as he was last month removed from the post and replaced by Retired Brigadier General Ambrose Mutinhiri.

Matiza becomes the shortest serving minister despite the fact that he appeared to have the zeal to turn around the fortunes of the province.

A senior Zanu PF official in the province who declined to be named said the constant reshuffling of ministers in the province would not in any way bring development to the province.

“The current political instability in the province will not help for now, as this scares away investors. Different leaders mean different ideologies and policies. Each leader has his or her own way of doing things,” said the official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

“Speaking of development in this province is a waste of time. The ousting of Matiza dealt a major blow for he had brought along fresh ideas for the betterment of the province. If he had stayed long we would have had a chance to see the implementation of his ideas.”

When Matiza was appointed provincial affairs minister in December, he ordered foreign-owned companies in the province to contribute to government’s indigenisation and empowerment drive, the Community Share Ownership Trust (CSOT). Despite facing resistance, the initiative managed to raise reasonable funds.

President Robert Mugabe launched CSOTs in nine provinces, save for Mashonaland East which lags behind despite the existence of big black granite mining companies.

While other provinces are enjoying development activities through the CSOT programme, Mashonaland East continues to watch from a distance. The province managed to construct the Nhakiwa Vocational Training Centre in Uzumba with the $300 000 seed money provided by Lafarge cement company.

The vocational centre is still to be completed. In a bid to market the province in terms of both tourism and investment, Matiza launched a provincial website www.mashonalandeast.org. Mashonaland East then became the first province in the country to use technology to attract meaningful investment.

The province is the only one in the country that has no state or private university. Mugabe has made numerous promises that government would construct an agricultural university in the province, but nothing has materialised so far.

The absence of a university in the province has resulted in young people from the area enrolling at local institutions that lack good academic reputation.

The appointment of Zanu PF stalwart Aeneas Chigwedere as the Minister of Education also did not yield much despite the historian being a son of the province.

The Anglican and Methodist churches have since reportedly announced plans to establish private universities in the province.

Educationist and UMAA Group of Colleges owner Cleopas Kundiona has also set his sight on constructing a university in Mashonaland East.

Kundiona said there was need for all stakeholders to unite and work hard to ensure that the province gets a university.

“It is a pity that we do not have a university in this province and the task is now upon private companies or institutions to do something towards the construction of a tertiary institution in this area,” he said.

“UMMA Group of Colleges is constructing a university but this will take three years from now, if resources permit.”

The new minister, Ambrose Mutinhiri is now facing a daunting task of bringing and promoting development in the province. In his first speech during a recent meeting with provincial heads of government, Mutinhiri said he would not tolerate corruption and urged transparency in the way officials conducted business.

Matiza told The Standard that the province was indeed lagging behind in terms of development, adding that Zanu PF would work well with the government for the good of the area.

“This is the dream of the provincial leadership at both party and national level, to see development taking place. The party will work well with the new minister. We support development as this is what the economic blueprint demands,” Matiza said.

“We managed to lure churches to construct a private university and we are happy that the project is still on course,” he said.

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