Councillors’ Competence Questioned

A new report has revealed that the performance and competence of local government Councillors is undesirable and a critical assessment has to be carried out before they seek reelection in the forthcoming elections

Presenting the Local Government Election Survey Report today, Researcher at the Danish Church Aid, Dr Davison Muchadenyika ,said while carrying out the survey, residents who were interviewed said the  performance of Councillors was deplorable and some of them do not deserve to be reelected.

“The performance of sitting Councillors was rated as poor by 44.7% of the respondents, political parties
must therefore critically assess sitting Councillors seeking re-election.

“Further, political parties are urged to evaluate the credentials of council candidates during primary elections.

“Such evaluations include having party criteria for candidate selection which is competence and integrity based.” he explained.

Based on the last three elections, more than 70% indicated that the Councillors they voted for, were of the same party.

Such voting behavior points to an electorate with consistent voting preferences hence political parties enjoying such loyalty need to reciprocate by fielding competent council candidates committed to changing service delivery in cities ,added Muchadenyika.

The report indicated that service delivery is in crisis. In sharp contrast, this survey showed that voters and political parties place low priority on council elections.

“More than 55% of the respondents think that political parties do not prioritize council elections. Thus, as long as the electorate and political parties do not prioritize local government elections, our local authorities will remain in a deplorable state.Significant steps must therefore be undertaken to raise the profile of council elections.” said Muchadenyika.

About 47.7% rated the performance of city mayors as poor. Political parties are therefore advised to
critically invest in searching for talented and experienced candidates during primary elections to be elected
mayors in the event of winning majority seats in cities.

However in his defense, Harare Mayor Bernard Manyenyeni said Mayors wear many hats and work harder than other Members of Parliament.

“I work eight days a week and my family has accepted that it is my job. As a mayor I work in the business and political sector as well as at community level,

“Members of parliament have lost the meaning of service delivery,” he said.

Commenting on the national budget of councils, MDC T Secretary General, Douglas Mwonzora ,said the National Budget supposed to be for councils is not being allocated to them showing political unwillingness from the powers that be.

“5% of the national budget must go towards councils but there has not been any political will to allocate that money because most councils are filled with MDC candidates,

“In addition Councillors that were elected in 2013 still have not been sworn in, when it comes to corruption do not blame Councillors but the higher authorities,” echoed Mwonzora.

Into the 2018 elections, according to eligible voters, the main campaign agenda for council elections should be centered on service delivery (67.7%). This emanates from the poor delivery of services being experienced by citizens in cities. Therefore, political parties and council candidates are encouraged to outline their plans in terms of resuscitating service delivery in cities as part of their campaign agenda.

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