Central-Local Relations in Zimbabwe: Does the Local Matter?

  • Sylvester Marumahoko University of Johannesburg
Keywords: Zimbabwe, National government, Local government, Urban Councils, Rural District Councils, Local functions, Service delivery


The study examines current central-local interactions in Zimbabwe and is based on document analysis. It looks at what might be a trend in Zimbabwe’s intergovernmental structure, one that is marked by an increase in the national level meddling in local government affairs. After a brief introduction, the paper outlines its structure and approach. The conceptual and theoretical framework is then presented. There is a brief discussion of three theories: subsidiarity, jurisdictional design principles, and decentralisation theorem. This is followed by a brief discussion on the territorial organisation of Zimbabwe, with the intention
of providing readers with context and perspective. The paper then examines central-local interactions, after which the discussion turns to whether the takeovers fit within the theoretical framework. The examination is conducted against the backdrop of the requirement to safeguard the local level’s integrity, reputation,
and autonomy. The paper’s conclusion is that local government matters and is an important component of Zimbabwe’s governmental structure.