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. Mungombe points out that this was necessitated by the need of the to articulate their actual needs largely basing on their experiences as marginalised ethnic minority group.
ADVOCACY AMONGST THE TONGA
Establishment of Advocacy Organisations
In response to these failed state prescribed developmental initiatives of the 1990s the Tonga responded by establishing advocacy organisations which were aimed at promoting development amongst the Tonga through lobbying the state for policies aimed at integrating the marginalised Tonga both socially and economically. They were aimed at bringing about development amongst the Tonga. These attempts were largely based on bringing development with encompassing all major aspects of Tonga life that is their needs as an ethnic minority , their identity, their historical experiences, their culture as well as keeping their traditional knowledge systems in place. Generally they wanted development and integration to come taking into consideration their special needs as an ethnic minority group that had a quiet unique historical experience that had affected their development. These needs ranged from economic, political and cultural needs. This saw the establishment of various locally based organisations which worked to promote the recognition of the Tonga as well as their integration into the national system. These included organisations such BIDA, Basilwizi Trust, Intengwe
Mashingaidze (2013) the establishment of the Binga Development Association (BIDA) was the first major Tonga initiative aimed at advocating for local development in Binga district . One of its aims was to quell the dependence on aid which largely characterised the Tonga . The Tonga formed BIDA and subsequently registered it as a welfare organisation with the Ministry of Labour, Public Service and Social Welfare in 1990. The founding fathers of the organisation were a group of Binga residents who were concerned with the lack of development in the district and the marginal participate in the socio-economic activities in their district . BIDA acted both as a development agency and an advocacy organisation for the Tonga people’s rights to local resources.
The organisation rose to prominence by setting up branches throughout the district. Its founding leadership comprised of efficient community organisers who later assumed top posts both within Binga district and in the country. Muleya points out that BIDA largely operated as a grassroots organisation with a bottom-up approach to decision making on development contrary to what characterised early development initiatives. It sought funding for locally proposed projects rather than accepting projects planned without Tonga participation. BIDA capitalised on Binga’s prominent history of underdevelopment to secure funding from international donors such as Oxfam for its development initiatives. It raised funds for important livelihood supporting projects such as the buying of tractors to assist local farmers in tillage and the setting up of some retail outlets. It also provided funds to local self-help projects like women’s small-scale business enterprises. BIDA lobbied the Zimbabwean government to promote development amongst the Tonga by ensuring that they realised the benefits accrued from the commercial activities at Kariba dam .
However BIDA’s survival became constantly threatened due to politicisation and internal conflicts. Inevitably cracks emerged within the organisation and this s forced some of the prominent members to leave the organisation. Mashingaidze (2013) this also led to donors and funding partners like Oxfam to withdraw their financial support for BIDA therefore creating financial problems for the organisation which resulted in its collapse. This forced influential members to desert the organisation and by 1996 the organisation had totally collapsed and its coordinator formed another organisation which had objectives similar to those of BIDA. In order to avoid from the politicisation which affected BIDA the founders decided to work cahoots with the Roman catholic church which had a well-coordinated grassroots structure in almost every part of the district.
These efforts resulted in the emergence of the Binga Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace. Binga CCJP was an affiliate of an important national human rights organisation the Zimbabwe Catholic Commission for Peace and Justice, which had exposed and struggled against human rights abuses by the Ian Smith government during the liberation struggle of the 1970s.Binga CCJP, adopted a human rights orientation in its operations. Conyers and Cumanzala (2000) its main argument was that the Zimbabwean state was denying the Tonga people their basic human rights as citizens. The Tonga had were victims of a development induced displacement the colonial government when the Kariba Dam was constructed; they had not received the infrastructure they had been promised when they were resettled; the district was lagging behind most other parts of the country in terms of basic services; and they were discriminated against in terms of language. According to Father Josh CCJP carried out campaigns across every ward educating the Tonga to identify and articulate their needs and to demand their basic rights as citizens. By the end of 1999 when the Zimbabwean political and economic crisis began Binga CCJP had more than twenty committees and covered almost all the District. In spite of these successes, the organisation crumbled within the next three years. Binga CCJP started collapsing from 2000 because of relentless pressure from the state. The state accused Binga CCJP of inciting the Tonga people to vote against it in the local government, parliamentary and presidential polls.
Basilwizi is also the other locally formed organisation which was established in 2002 in response to the needs of needs of the Tonga and Korekore . The organisation operates in the four districts of Binga , Hwange , Nyaminyami and Gokwe North. The organisation has facilitated for the recruitment of Tonga youths in tertiary education institutions to train as teachers. According to J Mungombe the organisation believes that having Tonga teachers will help revive Tonga language and culture.
There is also Intengwe which was another independent locally established organisation which has worked towards the promotion of development amongst the Tonga. The organisation seeks to achieve this through enabling access to resources. According to Isaac Kufandiko the district coordinator for Intengwe the organisation complements government efforts through the promotion of capacity building and educational programmes aimed at helping the Tonga
These organizations have largely carried out developmental projects which are characterised by participatory development as they involve the general Tonga populace in their initiatives. The Tonga have embraced these organizations as they originate from within their vicinity and work on their real needs.
These organisations were meant to bridge the gaps created and left by the international donor organisations. Since they originated from within the Tonga community and were run by the Tonga these organisations provided an alternative for appropriate development and the possibility of a cordial relationship with the state without the possibility of allegations for political interference.