n Ubuntu : Journal of Conflict and Social Transformation - Can devolution aid the construction of a democratic developmental state in Zimbabwe?

Volume 4, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 2078-760X
  • E-ISSN: 2050-4950


This article discusses the twin notions of devolution of power and the democratic developmental state project in Zimbabwe. It argues that like Siamese twins, the two notions are organically connected both in theory and practice. They share key principles such as 'socially inclusive development', 'democracy with social content', 'public accountability', 'citizen ownership', and 'effective leadership' among others. The paper explores various ways through which the devolution of power can facilitate the construction of a democratic developmental state in Zimbabwe. While canonised and etched in the memory of the National Constitution that was birthed on the 22nd of May 2013, devolution has remained a platonic theory without content and substance. Similarly, despite being stated as the vision of the country in the Mid-Term Plan of Government of Zimbabwe (2011-2015) the democratic developmental state is not mentioned in the most current economic blueprint, the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable, Social, and Economic Transformation (ZimAsset). This raises the questions of government's commitment to both devolution and democratic developmental state projects in that country. The paper argues however that by promoting a responsive and accountable political leadership, enhancing democratic institutions and facilitating transformative economic policies, devolution can support the construction of a democratic developmental Zimbabwean state.

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