MASVINGO - The Zimbabwe Liberators Platform (ZLP) has decried the lack of engagement between local authorities and the public saying stakeholders need to open communication channels to improve service delivery.
This was said by ZLP Director Wilson Nharingo while giving an update of the many engagement meetings his organisation has facilitated in the southern parts of the country.
ZLP is a community-based organisation with a special interest in matters of governance at local level and was formed in the early 2000s by veterans of the country's liberation struggle who had become disenchanted by bad governance.
The aim is to improve local governance by facilitating dialogue between government and the public. The organisation has so far facilitated many engagement meetings between councils and residents in Chiredzi, Gwanda and other areas.
"We are an organisation formed by genuine war veterans that had seen how the government had abandoned liberation ideals so as to protect their selfish-interests. We had seen how war veterans had been manipulated to become partisan shock troops of the ruling party.
"The result of that bad governance is a state of paralysis is all areas of our life, with local governance suffering the most as there is rarely any dialogue between the public representatives and those they serve," said Nharingo.
He also said ZLP was a project meant to rescue the war veterans brand which has been tarnished by divisive politics presided over by Zanu-PF.
"We wanted to clear the air that we were a violent lot that was invading farms and callously getting rid of white farmers and their workers. Genuine war veterans who experienced the pain of war and saw how its goals were betrayed will not engage in any form of violence.
"We also strive to spearhead peace projects in rural areas as they are most vulnerable to the shenanigans of unscrupulous politicians. We are running projects aimed at educating people on their fundamental human rights, and to lobby councils to articulate issue that affect residents," Nharingo said.
Currently, ZLP is being funded by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) through the American International Republican Institute (IRI) for all its activities in Chiredzi and Gwanda.
The organisation intends to scale up its efforts to educate the people on their rights as enshrined in the constitution.
In the past some of the group's work has been supported by German group GIZ.
"We are working to achieve five fundamental issues: freedom, democracy, social justice, peace and respect for human dignity," Nharingo said.news