The Zimbabwe Christian Alliance (ZCA) says engagement between local authorities and residents is critical for the development of the country.
Speaking at a meeting in Masvingo, ZCA executive director, Rev Useni Sibanda, said due to lack of engagements, local authorities and residents were always at each other’s throats for non-payment of bills and poor service delivery.
Some of the stakeholders that attended the exchange programme were Nkayi Rural District CEO Lawrence Mudimba, Masvingo Covid-19 taskforce spokesperson Rogers Irimai, Gweru Deputy Mayor Cleopas Shiri and the Mayor for Chegutu Henry Muchatibaya.
“Engagement is key to any dialogue, it is not necessary to always criticize. If you criticize you will find out that the other people will not like to talk to you, they will do resentment, but once you start to engage you will do a collective solution,” Rev Sibanda told Business Times.
He added: “Councils, many times threw the blame on residents that they were not paying their bills, hence poor service delivery, but when the pastors went to the churches they asked the residents to pay their rates so that councils would attend to their situations.”
The ZCA vice chairperson for Masvingo Province, Rev Tichavaka Hlomai, told Business Times that they urged residents to attend consultative budget meetings for their inputs to be considered by the local authority. “As churches we managed to train residents to attend consultative meetings so that they raise their concerns and put their inputs. With that we saw our City Council listening to the concerns of the residents,” Rev Hlomai said.
He said the water situation in Masvingo has improved. The local authority, through devolution funds, was also upgrading the roads which had become deplorable.