The Harare Residents’ Trust is greatly disturbed by the high level of administrative and political discord that is being exhibited by city fathers and administrators at Town House.
Service delivery should be viewed as three-tier, involving central government, local government and the residents.
The citizens, who pay for the services rendered by the local authorities, are unfortunately being deliberately marginalised by the authorities, yet they sustain the extravagant lifestyles of senior council management and the councillors. It is from the pockets of the electorate that the council is able to function properly.
There are a myriad of service delivery challenges that residents as the ultimate beneficiaries of services by local authorities are facing, yet the authorities are insincere and lack genuine commitment to address them.
The role of the Local Government minister is to provide policy direction and ensuring that local authorities are timeously responding to the concerns of stakeholders in line with the Urban Councils’ Act (Chapter 29:15). This role is significant in that it provides for checks and balances in the operations of local authorities, who are liable to exploit consumers at the slightest opportunity. The central level is charged with policy direction in pursuance of an effective service delivery system.
The relationship between the central and local governments and the consumers contributes immensely to the quality of service provision in Harare and other local authorities today.
Inconsistent policy thrusts at all levels, devoid of institutional and a policy frameworks, create gaps that are usually exploited by political opportunists within the structures of government for personal benefit instead of advancing community development.
Residents’ demands are clear; they want adequate and clean water supplies, consistent refuse removal, proper road maintenance and upgrading, effective representation, unhindered access to public health and sanitary facilities, cancellation of their huge debts accrued between February 2009 to December 2010, removal of interest charges on the multi-currency bills, and to be involved in the governance of their city.