There is need for the stakeholders of the City of Harare to own the city and be involved in the planning and management of its programmes which ultimately benefit them. This was said by Mr Leopold Bhoroma, Programme Manager for the Commonwealth Local Government Forum (CLGF) Zimbabwe office during the City of Harare Stakeholders Workshop held recently at the Waterfalls Community Hall.
The workshop was attended by representatives of residents associations, civil society organisations, Waterfalls residents and management of the City of Harare.
Mr Bhoroma likened a local authority to a herd of cattle which he said the owner would find it difficult to tend them on his own because other chores would suffer. He said that it would be prudent for the cattle owner to find someone to look after the cattle. But, he said, the person who herds the cattle does not assume ownership of the cattle by virtue of looking after them. Rather the owner still has the right to the cattle and should know what is going on with the cattle on a daily basis.
The cattle owner might be joined by another person to be co-owners of the cattle. The owners still have to know how many cattle there are, whether there are any calves as well as ensure that the cows are milked and how much milk is being produced. He added that if things went wrong with the cattle, the owners should not blame anyone but themselves because they should take charge of the cattle and determine the cattle tender’s programme, what he should do and not do. He said that is the only way the cattle owners can determine whether the cattle tender is doing well or not.
Mr Bhoroma said that the same applied to the City of Harare adding that the residents and ratepayers (stakeholders) were the owners of the city and that they should be in charge and determine how the city is managed.
In the presentation, which was interactive Mr Bhoroma said it was the duty of the stakeholders to appoint policy makers (through elections) and managers to oversee the day-to-day running of the city’s affairs. He said that it would be difficult to achieve world class status given the low rate payments by residents who owed the council $300 million and have collectively only paid $7 million. Mr Bhoroma added that stakeholders needed to come up with a strategy on how and by when the balance of $293 million would be paid off.
On ways to reduce expenditure on solid waste management by the council, Mr Bhoroma urged the council to encourage recycling by raising awareness among residents and facilitate separation of solid waste at household level and provide separate refuse bins for glass, plastic, tin and biodegradable material. He said that refuse trucks would make fewer trips to dump sites and save resources as those who make a living out of collecting glass, plastic, tin or biodegradable material would collect from households instead of following the refuse trucks to the dump sites which are usually several kilometers away and incur costs ferrying the stuff back to the industries.
Mr Bhoroma also talked about the Integrated Results Based Budgeting concept which he said focused at the range and quality of goods and services that residents got after paying rates. He added that IRBM is for value for money and improving the quality of life of the residents.
On complaints by some residents that council management was buying expensive vehicles, he said that that was not the issue. He urged residents to check whether services were being provided efficiently and effectively and whether they are of the acceptable quality or standards.