The Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) has castigated the blame game between the City of Harare and the Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (ZINARA) on road rehabilitation funds saying revenue collection should rest with local authorities.
In an interview with 263Chat, CHRA director Rueben Akili said the current set up where ZINARA collects and disburses funds is not ideal in view of devolution.
“The blame game between the City of Harare and ZINARA is an indication of a failure of a system designed by the government, the system where vehicle licencing is centralized there is no reason to centralize the system. Local authorities should be given back their mandate of collecting vehicle licensing in view of devolution that is ideal. The current situation where ZINARA collects and feels what it is able to give to any local authority is unacceptable.
“We have written to ZINARA as CHRA asking them the formula which they use to disburse these funds and have not given us responses. ZINARA is not clean, City of Harare also on the other hand has some issue which are being raised there, and Harare City Council has not been clean around issue of transparency and accountability. When these issues arise they start from the central government and it becomes a blame game,” said Akili
He said ZINARA should cede revenue collection to all local authorities across the country for accountability purposes.
When we have these long chain of disbursing funds we have a problem, the problem lies with the failure of a system which is centralized where accountability issues become skilled to the extent where issues like these begin to emanate. The Government needs to be humble and understand that ZINARA has failed.. The ideal is for ZINARA to leave vehicle licensing to City of Harare but to all local authorities across the country in view of devolution. The challenges we are seeing in Zimbabwe is a result of a system failure,” he said
Local governance expert Hardlife Mudzingwa said the current impasse between the two entities is a result of Acts that are not in tandem with the Constitution.
“At the moment ZINARA is just benefitting from the prevalence of Acts of Parliament that are not in tandem with the Constitution, so we support the local authority in terms of its position to collect revenue. It is the same way we have a situation where the Minister of Local Government was riding on Section 314 of the Urban Councils Act to issue directives that are in direct violation of provisions of devolution in the Constitution which the High Court recently interpreted and said its null and void.
“The same understanding because with devolution we are not only looking at it in terms of power, we are looking at fiscal devolution which looks at ensuring that resources are available at the lowest tier of Government to enable services to be provided efficiently and in a manner that satisfies the citizens of the republic,” Mudzingwa said.
City of Harare Mayor, Councilor Jacob Mafume has threatened to take legal action against ZINARA for disbursing a paltry amount of vehicle licensing fees to local authorities.
Mafume said the limited funding was the reason behind the poor state of roads in the capital.
ZINARA hit back, accusing City of Harare of failing to submit acquittals for money disbursed in 2020, resulting in the authority delaying the 2021 disbursement to the local authority.
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