The Ministry of Home Affairs, Zimbabwe is position in the Zimbabwean government is currently subject to a tussle of control between Zanu-PF and MDC. However it is overshadowed by the Provincial administration in the communal areas, which largely controls food distribution.

The Ministry of Home Affairs controls, among others, :-

  • Zimbabwe Republic Police (responsible for internal security)
  • Registrar General (Electoral roll)
  • Immigration
  • Board of Censors (Newspapers, TV, Radio)
  • Lotteries and Gaming Board (Income in tourist areas)

Especially because it controls the Police Force, it is a powerful ministry.

It is a descendant of the colonial ministry of the same name, which used to include the powerful Provincial and District Administration. 42% of the land is communal farming land, directly controlled by the District Administration where 70% of Zimbabwe’s population live.

Provincial administration is now under the direct control of the president. It represents considerably more power than the present Ministry of Home Affairs. Robert Mugabe now appoints 10 Provincial Governors, who become members of the Senate, who in turn appoint the 59 District Administrators, who are civil servants. Other non-elected members of the Senate include 16 chiefs that are elected by other chiefs, plus the president and deputy president of the Council of Chiefs. These chiefs will also indirectly fall under their local District Administrator.

District Development Coordinating Committee

The District Administrator administers all legislation of the various sectoral ministries (Agriculture, Roads, Health, Education, Environment , Forestry, Veterinary, Army, Police, National Intelligence,etc.) and chairs the District Development Coordinating Committee consisting of the civil servants from these ministries working within the district.

District Council

In colonial times the Chiefs had their own statutory councils. The main function of the tribal authority was control and allocation of communal land. According to Shona customs, the chief always consulted his Dare (council of elders) before making any important decisions. In 1980 the District Councils Act politicised these councils, one per chief, by allowing political parties to elect representatives, and passing control of the council to the District Administrator. responsible to Robert Mugabe through the Provincial Governor.

Food security

(much below quoted from a Canadianreport

Traditionally, crops raised in the communal farming areas were indigenous sorghum, millet, legumes cucurbits and traditional maize. (David Livingstone found Zimbabweans growing maize when he arrived). These open-pollinated area-specific seeds, selected over generations, provide a varied diet, have good storage potential and are well adapted to environmental stress conditions. Prior to the introduction of hybrid seeds the communal farmers consistently out-produced dryland commercial farmers during seasons of drought.

Due to the demands of the cash economy, which is increasingly impinging on the autonomy of the small-scale farmers, the best resources are devoted to cash crops, more specifically maize. The traditional crops are consequently grown on the poorer soils with minimal inputs and almost exclusively by women farmers, who are concerned with their families’ food security. Drought relief packages which were meant to alleviate the food insecurity, have almost exclusively contained hybrid maize seed produced by multinational companies and have not addressed the needs of farmers living in marginal areas. This has exacerbated the current food crises. Present donations of seed should concentrate on short-season, open-pollinated varieties.

(this article written in conjunction with a friend who worked in the old Colonial Home Affairs department in the District Administration)