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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:More Than the Politics of Decentralization: Local Government Reform, District Development and Public Administration in Zimbabwe
Author:Roe, Emery M.ISNI
Periodical:World Development
Geographic term:Zimbabwe
local government reform
Politics and Government
Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment
Development and Technology
External link:https://doi.org/10.1016/0305-750X(95)00008-Z
Abstract:This paper examines a local government reform in Zimbabwe that has been equated with central government decentralization: the consolidation (officially, the Amalgamation) of the countryside's two racially different local authorities, viz. the rural councils (representing largely white, commercial farming interests) and the district councils (representing black, largely communal area residents). The paper presents a view from below: a study was undertaken in 1992, just as the Amalgamation process was beginning, among 38 local government officials in six districts. The paper shows that how Amalgamation is evaluated depends on what is taken as the starting point in analysing it. If one expects from Amalgamation improved rural development, but finds instead a polarized politics of decentralization cast against the continuing socioeconomic divide separating white from black, commercial from communal, rural rich from rural poor, and bureaucrats from the people, then there is little reason to be optimistic about the exercise. If, however, Amalgamation is also about the nascent devolution of central government and reform of local government for the purpose of improved district-level development in a way that can maximize the utilization of scarce administrative and technical skills, then there is room for optimism over the prospects for Amalgamation. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum.