Apathy destroying accountability in Zimbabwe
Zimbabweans are very critical and literate which is a good recipe for a citizenry that demands accountability from local and national leaders. However, this seems to be of no consequence in how Zimbabweans interact with the institutions of government such as the council and parliament.
People seem to just ignore platforms that allow them to interface with officials they elected into office, this is an interesting and saddening phenomenon. Elections are the only means most Zimbabweans use a way to either reward a certain party or individual by electing them or not electing them into office. Making it the only means politicians account for the electorate. What this does is it allows elected officials to do as they please for the during of their terms without input or censure from the electorate thereby dealing democracy and accountability a huge if not fatal blow.
The recent surveys done shows that a total of 10% of the population in communities turn up for ward meetings. Drawing attention at the recently conducted ward 22 (Highfield and Msasa park) meeting on human settlement and service delivery issues, the attendance was about 35 people and with young people accounting for less than 10% of the total attendees.
Speaking on the sidelines of the meeting, the City of Harare Public Affairs Protocol Officer, Mr. Jackson Murimi said, people have a tendency to ignore council meetings.
“Residents are no longer interested in council meetings because they feel that the issues they raise in meetings are not being addressed by council, so they stop attending”
Notices are put out on time with every resident alert of the meetings but when it comes to the attendance it is so embarrassing, he added
“People should desist from politicising council meetings, we should come together and work for a common course”.
In Chitungwiza Seke there was also low turnout of residents on the 2020 budget consultation meeting held last month. Less than 30 people attended and the meeting had to proceed without the majority of the stake holders. There is a loophole in our society that needs to be cemented for residents to be aware of the importance to attend ward meetings and engage with their councilors on one hand and on the other council is supposed to give heed to the issues raised by