MWENEZI - The Local Authorities Capacity Enhancement Project (LACEP) recently facilitated a two-day public finance management training workshop where the Mwenezi Rural District Council (RDC) and its stakeholders got an opportunity to engage on governance and service delivery improvement issues.
The project is funded by the European Union (EU) to help enhance participatory development and make the services of local authorities more inclusive, gender-responsive and pro-poor.
The event was held at the Mwenezi Development Training Centre (MDTC) premises, Neshuro growth point on November 25 to 26.
It was attended by Mwenezi RDC staff, all the councillors in the district, citizen’s representatives from various wards and representatives from all other stakeholders.
LACEP project coordinator, Philip Kundishora said the programme was being implemented in four other local authorities namely Mangwe RDC in Matabeleland South, Redcliff Urban Council in the Midlands, Zibagwe RDC also in the Midlands and Lupane Urban Council in Matabeleland North.
Kundishora said the programme was born out of the realisation that there was a missing link between the conduct of local authorities and residents’ expectations.
“We are supporting revenue collection and public finance management through engagement of citizens and local authorities. We initiated this programme upon realising that during processes like budget consultations, residents do not attend and they are reluctant to pay rates as they lack confidence in the consultative processes.
“The idea, therefore, is to facilitate dialogue and cultivate a spirit of trust between the local authority and its stakeholders so that we can collectively identify priority areas and actions for service delivery improvement,” said Kundishora.
The engagement saw resident representatives raising their own concerns against the local authority. It was noted that there was need to work on improving and modifying the communication channels between the local authority and its stakeholders.
Another critical concern that came up was the need for modalities to encourage and accommodate female participation in the political field as currently all the Mwenezi RDC’s 18 councillors are male.
Speaking at the meeting, Mwenezi RDC Council chairperson, Jorum Ncube acknowledged the existence of loopholes in council processes leading to revenue leakages.
Stakeholders were then asked to, by the end of the year, identify a single project that will be worked on and assessed meticulously with LACEP support.
In the past LACEP extended support towards solid waste management to several RDCs including Mwenezi.
The project is currently assisting some local authorities to upgrade their information systems. Among other improvements, the local authorities are being assisted to transition from old model software like Pastel Partner to Pastel Evolution.