Participation and Stakeholder Dynamics in the Water Reform Process in Zimbabwe: The Case of the Mazoe Pilot Catchment Board

by Bevlyne Sithole

Abstract

One aspect of water reform in Zimbabwe is increased stakeholder participation in water management through catchment boards. This paper uses discourse analysis to explore relationships among different stakeholders in consultative meetings facilitated to achieve wider participation among all stakeholders. Consultation over the water allocation system provides a case for the analysis of interfaces where multiple stakeholders meet and interact. Though inclusive of a wide range of stakeholders, catchment boards are far from being democratic organisations. Water democracy without water development is difficult to achieve, while water democracy that ignores the present dualism in access to resources perpetuates differentials in participation by all stakeholders.

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Bevlyne Sithole is a lecturer in the Centre for Applied Sciences, and has worked on various projects focusing on institutions for natural resources in forestry, and the water sector. Her key focus has been participation, power relations among actors, differentiation and micro-politics of natural resources use.