Leaders of residents associations across the country have been urged to play a watchdog role in order to curb local authorities and central government from engaging in corruption as this infringes service delivery.
Speaking at the annual national residents summit held in Bulawayo, Thursday, Roderick Fayayo an expert in local governance said residents’ association leaders should be resolute and firm when challenging issues of corruption.
The 2020 summit is running under the theme “Setting the residents movement agenda for citizens, focused, transparent, accountable and devolved governance.”
Fayayo, said the challenge of service delivery is universal across the country, affecting people in various ways depending on their location.
He noted that the effects of Covid-19 in the country, which brought a halt to many sectors of the economy, further contributed to the already poor service delivery hence disadvantaging rate payers.
He encouraged residents not to fear to challenge their local authorities and relevant policy makers whom they may deem responsible for the deterioration or absence of key services in their respective areas.
“Sometimes residents are intimidated to speak out on issues of corruption because of possible consequences that could befall them. This is where, as residents associations, we should step in. We must play a watchdog role to ensure local authorities and central government do not connive to perpetuate corruption and short change people on the services they need,” said Fayayo.
“Issues of service delivery are universal across the country, they only manifest themselves differently according to peculiar areas. Water shortages affects residents all over the country but in different aspects-some don’t have water totally while others have dirty water, for some water sources are there but there are no means of drawing it to the people. It is therefore important to come together and find solutions to problems faced by residents.”
Fayayo reiterated that residents are the most important people to give attention to when they raise the challenges they face because they are the ones who bear the brunt of poor service delivery on a daily basis.
Zibusiso Masiye, a consultant, concurred with Fayayo citing the significance for residents to find each other and advocate for adequate service delivery to ensure that their lives become more bearable.
Masiye said many a times residents suffer because service delivery is sometimes politicised hence this affects beneficiaries.
“It is important to note and appreciate that before residents belong to political parties they are primarily residents, who all get affected alike by absence of adequate service delivery, without discrimination according to which political party they belong to,” Masiye said.
“If there’s no water, everybody suffers, if there’s no proper health institutions everybody is affected and if the roads are in a dilapidated state everybody is affected. Let’s not politicise issues of service delivery.”
Source: Centre for Innovation and Technology (CITE)