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President sounds death knell for corrupt councils

President Mnangagwa

HEADS will roll in corruptly and incompetently managed local authorities as the Government is duty bound to improve living conditions for urbanites who have been receiving a raw deal from opposition-run councils, President Mnangagwa has said.

In line with the Government’s development thrust, President Mnangagwa said local authorities should speedily develop a roadmap towards Vision 2030 to improve the lives of people.

Budgets for 2024, the President said, will not be approved unless councils demonstrate achievable and acceptable levels of service delivery.

This comes as service delivery has deteriorated to unprecedented levels in urban areas especially the capital city, Harare, leading to the outbreak of medieval diseases like cholera and typhoid.

Speaking during a high-level interaction with local authorities in Harare yesterday, President Mnangagwa said he continues to note with great disappointment and concern, the dilapidated infrastructure in cities and towns.

The President also officially launched the BluePrint on “A call to Action — No Compromise to Service Delivery: First Stage of Interventions to Modernise the Operations of Local Authorities towards a 2030 Vision”.

President Mnangagwa said as the people’s Government, they will continue to intervene to transform the unacceptable state of affairs in urban areas.

“Hatidi mahumbwe atinoona mumaguta edu. We will not stand by and watch our country being returned to medieval times, where solid waste runs along the streets with frequent diseases such as cholera and typhoid.

“Service delivery must be prioritised and rate payers have a right to demand that heads roll for those who do not deliver,” he said.

The conference, attended by mayors, chairpersons, councillors, town clerks, town secretaries and chief executive officers from local authorities around the country, ran under the theme “A call to action, no compromise to service delivery”.

President Mnangagwa challenged councils to rise to the task.

“You should play your part in the

ongoing quest to raise the standard of living of the people of our beloved motherland, through quality service delivery.

“The oath of office you each took upon your election into councils is sacred. We must deliver. Failure is not an option,” he said.

President Mnangagwa said as councils prepare for the 2024 financial, income and expenditure estimates, and in line with the country’s legal frameworks, they must undertake broad consultation processes towards people-centred policies, programmes and projects.

“The Ministry of Local Government has been instructed not to approve any annual budget unless it demonstrates achievable and acceptable service delivery levels and is in line with the law,” he said.

Guests follow proceedings at the Local Authorities Interaction event in Harare yesterday

Corruption should be shunned, President Mnangagwa said, adding that integrity, accountability and transparency are the cornerstones of officials working in public entities.

“The trend of numerous arrests of both senior council officials and councillors over a litany of corruption charges is untenable. Local authorities and the public service must never be treated as spaces for stealing and looting that which belongs to the people of Zimbabwe.

“The Ministry of Local Government and Public Works, together with law enforcement agencies, must take a lead in ensuring that corruption and abuse of public resources in the sector are eliminated,” he said.

President Mnangagwa said councils remain the engines that drive the sub-national and national developmental agenda as this is reflected in the broad range of mandates bestowed upon councils by the national Constitution and other enabling Acts.

“By-laws, including those related to dumping of waste and littering, among others, must be stringently enforced. We cannot allow our cities to be like “waste and litter jungles”. We must begin to envision and see world class cities across all provinces,” he said.

The President said under his Government’s renewed mandate and in the context of the Second Republic’s impetus for results, every local authority should speedily develop a road-map towards a Vision 2030 status.

With regards to disaster management, President Mnangagwa said the Second Republic is committed to ensuring that communities and all relevant arms of the State are adequately organised and capacitated to implement best practices on disaster risk management.

“Early warning and proactive disaster risk management must continue to strengthen our nation’s responsiveness and preparedness to tackle disasters. Multi-pronged efforts to combat the outbreak of cholera in some parts of our country must be scaled up,” he said.

The President said unity of purpose between management and councillors, hard honest work, dedication, focus, commitment, patriotism and love for the country must continue to be the defining traits in individual and collective roles while wholeheartedly serving the people of Zimbabwe.

“Together in unity and peace, we will realise Vision 2030 and sustainable socio-economic development for our great country, Zimbabwe.”

President Mnangagwa said his Government will increase allocations on devolution to address the financing gaps within councils.

He said in keeping with best practices in the use of public finances, local authorities should improve their collection of rates as the syndrome to wait for central Government to provide resources and hide behind delays in the release of devolution funds, is unacceptable and will only slow down the speed at which Government achieves a higher quality of life for the people.

“I also urge you to leverage on the innovative culture, new solutions and prospects to think ‘through and outside’ the box to address the challenges you may face as local authorities. The right mind-set, dedication, focus and responsiveness to the needs of the people should always be nurtured in line with your different strategic plans and client service charters.

The President and Vice Presidents Dr Constantino Chiwenga (left) and Kembo Mohadi attend the Local Authorities Interaction event in Harare yesterday. — Pictures: Innocent Makawa

“To foster the results-based work ethic of the Second Republic, performance contracting at all levels of management in local authorities must be adhered to,” said President Mnangagwa.

In keeping with his Government’s economic growth expectations, he said, local authorities are encouraged to grow their economies through robust strategies to promote investment and trade as well as improve the ease of doing business reforms at the local level.

Association of Rural District Councils of Zimbabwe chief executive Dr Isaac Matsilele said the direction by the President sets a yardstick for all local authorities to follow.

“President Mnangagwa has called us to action so that each local authority can make sure that whatever they do is in line with Vision 2030.

“I am pleased with the fact that he also appreciates the challenges which our councils are going through but has pledged to increase more financial resources through devolution,” he said.

Chegutu Rural District Council councillor and chairperson of the environment committee, Ms Chioniso Michelle Murinda, said the engagement with the President was timely.

“As councillors we were challenged to focus more on Vision 2030, I am happy being a female councillor that our President is gender sensitive.

“The initiative to include the women’s quota in our councils is expected to boost and improve the capacity as well as efficiency of all local authorities. As a councillor I am hopeful and promise to continue serving my nation,” she said.

Goromonzi South ward 20 councillor Spiwe Musekiwa said she was ready to play her part in support of Vision 2030.

“I was challenged that as a councillor I should plan accordingly and set targets at ward level that will contribute to national development,” she said.

Herald

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