WHILE it is common sense in well managed economies across the world on how best a ruling party may attract votes from citizens during elections but in Zimbabwe the art of democratic persuasion through adequate service delivery remains a nightmare. Since attaining independence in 1980, ZANU PF has structured all national administrative functions to serve its selfish political interests.
By Tawanda Munyanyi.
Appointments of executive mayors were scratched, and the Minister of Local Government was bestowed with the responsibility of overseeing all council responsibilities and functions, leading to the said minister playing a delicate but destructive role of bringing down any meaningful and productive activities by local authorities and city fathers. The Local Government Act is the starting point as it empowers and vests all power in the minister, and this is what has been capitalised upon and abused by ZANU PF to the detriment of service delivery by all MDC led local councils.
Today the history is that all ministers of Local Government have made apparent efforts to stifle all local authority activities, fired mayors and administrative staff perceived as pro-opposition, stifled and directly interfered with council decisions and operations to the ultimate detriment of service delivery.
At the end of the day the same government goes out of its way to castigate MDC run local authorities, blaming them for service delivery failures. On 1 July 2018 in Hartcliffe, a whole vice president, Constantino Chiwenga, addressing people at a ZANU PF rally, laid all blame pertaining to poor service delivery on opposition party leadership in local authorities and instructed residents to stop paying council rates.
In the past, the Robert Mugabe led government, through Ignatius Chombo, then minister of Local Government, cancelled all debt that was due to councils. But the Zanu PF led Government is responsible for not taking action on corruption and looting national resources.
It is the Government responsibility to create an enabling service delivery environment for local councils through the availing of adequate resources, sound guidance and offering support to developmental projects.
When the Government does not have a vision, lacks an in-depth understanding of service delivery modalities; then potholes, inadequate vehicles for the collection of wastes, among the many other responsibilities expected of local authorities, will remain a thorn in the flesh.
These are actually cumulative problems inherited from ZANU PF led authorities, which they don’t want to admit failure to now. Poor governance, in respect of service delivery by local authorities, remains a problem today and will be so in the foreseeable future as long as ZANU PF is granted another mandate and stays at State House.
But thirty-eight years of perennial failure at the helm is not a joke.
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