Significant efforts to bring about development amongst the Tonga started in the early years after independence
Significant efforts to bring about development amongst the Tonga started in the early years after independence. This, period was characterised by a great deal of planning namely by the state’s administrative arm in the area that is the Binga Rural District Council. Mashingaidze (2013) it was an issue highly politicised due to the fact that the two political parties sought to gain political support through the exploitation of Tonga grievances. It started with individuals like Muntanga and Mungombwe who were Binga Rural District Council officials in the early years after independence. They went at the fore in highlighting Tonga grievances in 1981 in the Lusumpuko Plan. This plan was deemed a holistic approach to the developmental needs of the Tonga. It advocated for major developments in education, health, agriculture, transport and commercial fishing around lake Kariba , boat and net manufacturing , fresh water prawns and aquaculture. Its aim was to empower the Tonga by eliminating the marginalisation by the past regimes which turned a blind eye on their developmental needs. Manyeu (2010) Binga Rural District Council was one of the first to come up with district development plans in line with Five Year National Development Plans of the 1980s. Binga District’s Lusumpuko Plan of 1981 was a developmental plan that was aimed at improving the social and economic indicators in the district. Most of the planning process was largely championed by the District Administrator and the Chief Executive Officer of Binga Rural District Council. There were very little consultations made hence planning process largely followed a blueprint approach rather than a participatory approach where the plan would be centred on the general Tonga populace and adopted in accordance with their needs basing on their identity as a marginalised minority. Sinampande notes that as a result of this the Tonga missed out on developmental opportunities especially in the 1980s when rural development was a top government priority . Looking at the above information it brings to light the fact the though the plan advocated for development amongst the Tonga grassroots participation lacked as it is stated that even the councillors who are mandated to represent the people were not consulted thus the plan on its own had its flaws
However the plan remains as one of the most significant development plans Binga District has ever had as it laid the foundations of other plans to come in the second decade after independence. Drawing inspirations from the Lusumpuko Plan a number of efforts have been made to help BRDC improve its delivery process.
The Ward Profiling Exercise of 1993
The state also sponsored the Ward Profiling Exercise of 1993 which documented the specific developmental needs of each ward so as to come up with a development plan. According to J Mudenda this was a better approach as it sought to formulate development policy for the Tonga based on the needs of the grassroots after consultations. Conyers and Mbetu (1995) the exercise came up with a framework for land-use and development planning. The framework contained aspects like those at the core of disaster risk reduction such as capacity building, collaboration and networking, coordination, transparency, participation and accountability in the planning process. At the framework’s launch the provincial and national levels pledged to support to this developmental planning innovation which would be replicated to other districts if it were to succeed. Task forces were formulated and tasked to look at various aspects of the framework. However according to Sinampande these task forces failed to take shape and discharge their purported tasks and ad hoc planning became the order of the day. The Notional Poverty Map (1998) a product of the World Bank-funded Poverty Alleviation Programme which ranked according to their development indicators Binga district remained the least developed district in Zimbabwe .
The Lake Kariba Combination Master Plan 1999
The Lake Kariba Combination Master Plan was drawn up in 1999. From this plan the Binga Rural District Council was draw a local development plan based on its perceived developmental needs of the district. Manyeu (2010) although the three year development plans produced between 1998 and 2001 showed significant steps towards coming up with development plans there were a number of loopholes in the process. First the development plans were RDCCBP driven and focused on meeting the assessment criteria of the programme than meeting the felt needs of the Tonga community in Binga district. Secondly the plans were desk based and made no reference to the studies mentioned above thus there was no consultations and no assessment of the real needs of the Tonga in general. Basically from a developmental perspective the developmental initiatives mentioned above did not yield primarily because they were prescribed at the top and the real needs of the people on the ground were not taken into consideration. They largely followed a blueprint approach and this limited the chances of these plans to be embraced by the Tonga and to adapt to their special needs as well as the changes which might have occurred.
The impact of the failure by the state initiated development plans in the 1990s resulted in the rise of advocacy or activism amongst the Tonga. Mungomb