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‘Devolution should speak to women empowerment’

by Tatenda Chitagu and Stephen Chadenga

DEVOLUTION should promote women economic empowerment and participation in national processes if the country is to achieve its economic goals, Research and Advocacy Unit (RAU) director Shastry Njeru has said.

Speaking in Gweru at a devolution workshop organised by the Zimbabwe Christian Alliance on Tuesday, Njeru said despite women constituting over 50% of the population, the majority of them were not yet economically empowered as they were being sidelined in key decision-making processes.

“According to statistics from Zimstat [Zimbabwe National Statistical Agency], 52% of the population are women, while youths constitute 54%,” he said.

“If we look at such statistics, it shows that women and youths are the people, yet they are sidelined in key decision-making processes. Most importantly, if devolution involves women, it has the potential to allow (resource allocation) efficiency.”

Njeru said research had shown that even during recession fewer banks and financial institutions run by women crashed compared to those of their male counterparts.

“There are few women that can be branded corrupt,” he said. “Women naturally respect resources that are meant for the people, while men would generally want to experiment with such things. Women, therefore, need devolution because it gives them the ability to participate.”

Meanwhile, in a speech read on his behalf by the Gweru district administrator, Joram Chimedza, Local Government minister July Moyo said devolution was going to ensure that provincial economies become hubs of the national economy.

Moyo said government was moving with “speed” to ensure that devolution was achieved. The minister, however, warned that devolution should not be used to achieve selfish ends.

“As a word of caution, devolution is not a vehicle to further regionalism, tribalism or awarding tenders to preferred people,” he said.

“We should all be united as people of one great nation.”

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