Roles and Responsibilities in Rural Local Governance in Zimbabwe: Parallels, Overlaps and Conflict

This research paper focuses on the parallels and overlaps in the responsibilities and power of the local authorities that govern rural Zimbabwean communities, where the majority of Zimbabweans live. The paper demonstrates how these parallels and overlaps generate conflict in these communities. These conflicts impede development, fragment rural communities and can result in violence. The objective of the paper is twofold: First, to initiate a conversation amongst rural local governance leaders and their partners on how best to share roles and responsibilities in order to mitigate conflict and support development. Second, to orient civil society actors seeking to undertake development and civic work in rural Zimbabwe. By providing a practical map of the structure of rural local governance, including potential partners and pitfalls, the paper will support the development work of civil society in rural Zimbabwe. In the first section, the paper develops a blueprint of the basic structure of rural local governance in Zimbabwe and, in the second, the paper describes conflicts that emerge as a result of parallels and overlaps in rural local governance structures.