Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Reporter
GOVERNMENT is inching closer to fully relocating Matabeleland North civil servants to Lupane as construction of the Lupane Government Complex is now 88 percent complete with all works expected to be completed before year-end.
A Chronicle news crew was in Lupane yesterday and witnessed construction workers busy at work.
The construction of the Lupane Government Complex had been dragging for years but since the coming in of the Second Republic, neglected infrastructural development projects are being revived.
President Mnangagwa has been championing the devolution agenda and in due course people in Matabeleland North who have been travelling to Bulawayo for some critical services, will no longer be doing so.
On Tuesday, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa revealed during a post Cabinet media briefing that the complex was now 88 percent complete.
Yesterday, Matabeleland North Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister Richard Moyo said it was critical for the Government in the province to move to its capital in Lupane.
“’I’ve been lobbying for the completion of the Government Complex. It does not augur well to be running Matabeleland North from another province. We want to service the people from within their locality hence it is an important step to know that the complex will be completed by year end. This will cut distances that are travelled by our communities, some of them who travel all the way from Binga and Nkayi to get Government services in Bulawayo,” said Minister Moyo.
He said changes will also enable effective monitoring of Government projects as implementers will be on the ground.
Minister Moyo said infrastructural development projects being undertaken in the province will transform communities.
Local governance expert and political scientist Mr Teddy Ncube said the infrastructure development projects being undertaken by Government are in sync with the devolution mantra.
“This targeted completion of the Government Complex in Lupane is part of an extensive infrastructural development programme being pursued by Government precisely in Matabeleland North. We have witnessed quite a lot of progress in the province and I’m of the view that Matabeleland North is on a fast path of development,” said Mr Ncube.
“It (commitment to complete construction works) is part of a broader governance agenda and I would love to situate it within the devolution agenda. Because the Government has been talking a lot about devolution and these are the steps that we can point to as to whether the Government is committed towards devolution.”
He said it was inappropriate for people in Matabeleland North to travel to Bulawayo to access services.
Mr Ncube said scaling up construction works also proves that there is political will by the Government which is also abiding by the country’s supreme law.
“It was inappropriate to have Matabeleland North affairs being handled in Bulawayo. In the same way it was considered to be inappropriate to have Bulawayo affairs to be handled from Harare or Mutare affairs to be handled from Harare,” said Mr Ncube.
“The commitment towards completion of the Government Complex in Lupane is a reflection of the political and financial will on the part of Government, the New Dispensation on the issue of good governance because devolution emanates from Chapter 14 of the country’s constitution. Hence, Government is obliged to ensure that devolution is implemented.”
He said people in Matabeleland North will be able to bring Government to account on issues as all administrative offices will be closer to them.
Nkayi South legislator Cde Stars Mathe welcomed the development saying communities from Matabeleland North were being shortchanged when they were being compelled to travel to Bulawayo for services.
She said even civil servants deployed to Matabeleland North need to operate from the province to fully understand and appreciate what is obtaining in the region.
“The communities from Matabeleland North have a right to have their designated offices operating from within their locality. This will enable them to access public services with much ease as opposed to traveling to another province such as Bulawayo to seek for services. Also, Government employees should be easily accessible and they need to be resident in the province where members of the public can have access to them,” she said. — @nqotshili.