The governance of the natural resource commons within local authority structures: the case of Beitbridge Rural District Council in Zimbabwe
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Almost half of southern Africa is classified as semi-arid to arid. These range lands evolved under a wildlife system. About 2000 years ago domestic livestock was introduced creating a multi-species system of wildlife and livestock. Since colonization about 150 years ago domestic livestock has largely displaced wildlife. This paper looks at the implications of the Zimbabwe Government's policy of decentralization at two levels of governance: firstly of rural people and secondly the communally based natural resources. Conflicts arise because of the generality of the concept of "decentralization". The government has stated its commitment to the concept but what it means has largely meant the delegation of some of central governments functions and responsibilities to ocal authorities. Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) concerned with natural resource management however go further to view decentralization as devolution and smpowerment of local communities through the establishment of resource governance systems, and capacity building at the local level.