'Residents lack knowledge on governance'

HARARE - Participation by residents in local governance issues in Kwekwe, Midlands such as involvement at critical events like full council meetings is very low due to lack of knowledge.

These sentiments came out recently when Centre for Community Development in Zimbabwe (CCDZ) in an effort to enhance residents’ participation in demanding effective service delivery, held a Local Governance-Service Delivery forum.

CCDZ director Phillip Pasirayi said residents present during the meeting bemoaned that as a result of lack of knowledge, interaction with duty bearers such as councillors and other officials was limited and this has a negative bearing on effective service delivery.

“It was pointed out during the meeting that the situation was being worsened by the fact that some councillors, once elected into office, do not constantly engage with residents.

“The residents also noted that due to limited interaction between residents and duty bearers, council was taking long to respond to issues affecting the town such as sewer bursts and water cuts.

“The residents noted that it was critical to establish platforms that allow for constant engagement between them and duty bearers,” said Pasirayi.

He said concern was also raised over the leadership style of some of the councillors in the town with residents bemoaning that some of the elected representatives were failing to account to the people.

“With accountability and transparency largely lacking, it was noted that there is need to empower the ordinary residents to enable them to hold duty bearers to account.

“As part of the resolutions during the meeting, residents concurred that there is need to capitalise on social media by using it as a tool to raise awareness on issues of service delivery while engaging with duty bearers and calling them to account.”

Pasirayi said CCDZ community mobilisers will also assist in disseminating critical information to residents in their respective wards as a way of ensuring that residents are empowered with critical knowledge which has largely been lacking.

“Trainings on social accountability were also identified as crucial in ensuring that residents are equipped with information on how they can demand accountability ad transparency from their elected representatives.

“The residents also resolved to come up with various service delivery monitoring tools as a way of holding authorities to account.”

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