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CHRA to convene a national conference on service delivery charters for local authorities
Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA)
October 15, 2013

Inspired by the need to improve service provision and increase the levels of responsiveness of local authorities, the Combined Harare Residents Association will tomorrow convene a national conference on service delivery charters for local authorities. This comes as part of the broader programs being done by the association which aim at increasing citizen participation and increasing levels of transparency and accountability in local authorities. The concept of service/citizen charters is a widely used tool that seeks to enhance cooperation between residents and their service providers whilst improving service provision. It takes note of the need for services to be provided and also assumes that services thrive on rates being paid hence by doing so there is a win-win situation in which residents pay and local authorities deliver services and if there is a breach between the two parties then the service charter will provide for stipulated guidelines in mapping the way forward. The Mayor of Harare Councillor B. Manyenyeni will officially open this event.

The post election era poses considerable challenges and an array of opportunities for residents associations and local authorities in their work. However, it is quite frightening that we have observed certain elements in government uttering uncouth political statements that threatens to suffocate the democratic gains that we have so far realised. This then forms the basis of our programs which are aimed at giving residents and their associations a voice for them to demand their rights be involved in the provision of services. Apart from the service charter campaign we will also be doing the following:

  • Public expenditure surveys - It is our hope to track the way funds are handled from the local authority to the community. Many local authorities complain of lack of resources simultaneously employing financial management strategies that cultivate a culture of corruption and theft. If the later runs deeper than good public finance management (based on good governance practices e.g. transparency and accountability) then local authorities will always complain of lack of funds.
  • Improving the complaints mechanism - We need strong and robust complaints mechanisms that are characterised by a huge response rate from the service provider. As CHRA we are always exploring new innovations that could aid to this cause hence we will continue to use the I.C.T route through this platform
  • Citizen/Community report cards - Citizen and Community Report cards capture the levels of satisfaction emanating from services rendered by a local authority. It improves the way services are being delivered if the findings are valid and adopted by council. We have started doing our monthly score cards for ZESA and Harare City council and it is our hope that our monthly findings will add into their respective planning and service provision.

We will continue to explore new ideas and tools that can be used in our advocacy. We believe that if citizens claim their rights and civic space, we will directly improve issues of accountability and transparency.

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