A shortage of female representatives in local authorities particularly in Lupane has been attributed as a major factor that contributes to inadequate and poor service provision, an observation that emerged during a workshop that was held at Kusile Rural District Council Boardroom.
By Thembelihle Mhlanga
Speaking at a workshop on service delivery and exchange, organised by Women`s Institute for Leadership Development (WILD) and Sibanye Animal Welfare and Conservancy Trust (SAWC) the Lupane Local Board Chairperson and Chairperson of Women in Local Government a subcommittee of Zimbabwe Local Government Association (ZILGA), Mrs Monica Ngwenya lamented the negative effects caused by the limited participation of women in positions of power.
“We have seen only men being the ones taking up leadership positions within local authorities, either as Councillors or technocrats and as a result that contributes to the poor provision of service delivery,” added Mrs Ngwenya. “In the long run, that leads to disputes between residents and the local authority.”
Ngwenya said women representatives in local authorities are pleading with the government and Parliament to avail a Constitutional Amendment that grants a quota system in local authorities as well.
“There should be proportional representation at local authority level which is similar to the 60 seats that women are awarded in Parliament,” said Ngwenya. “Women with a vision of being ward councillors are forced to bear the First Past the Post systems that mostly favours men. Most women give up due to several reasons such as financial incompetence, and lack of support.”
Also speaking at the same workshop Ndmimbili Ward Councilor, Fortunate Ndlovu said political polarisation in the District hinders the possibility of development in Lupane.
“Residents are quick to point out a leader’s political affiliate party in as far as service provision is concerned,” said Councilor Ndlovu. “Once a leader has been elected into office, that simply means he/she is ready to serve the community and not fellow members of the political party.”
Mr Alfred Sihwa, the Director at SAWC urged delegates to keep all communication lines open, starting from residents right up to Councilors and Municipal technocrats.
“It takes the local authorities and residents or communities to understand their role for them to ensure the provision of best services,” said Mr Sihwa.
WILD and SAWC are in a partnership to capacitate Lupane Local Board and KRDC local authorities on devolution and coming up with strategies for improving service delivery.
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