MUTARE- Villagers in Marange are up in arms with the Civil Protection Unit (CPU) after contributing money towards the construction of a community dam over three years ago.
In spite of contributing US$20 per household towards the dam project, Marange community have not had feedback from CPU over the development of Mutandati Dam.
This came out at a Constituency Indaba held by the Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD) at Marange Clinic, which focused on devolution and service delivery.
The indaba revealed that delays in the distribution of public funds including devolution funds, community share ownership trust funds, and other rebates by local authorities are stumbling blocks to social service delivery and achievement of community development goals.
“These development projects have been pending for 3 years since cyclone Idai hit. The Civil protection unit did the quotations but never came back to give feedback and nothing was done,” said a villager.
Efforts to get a response from the provincial CPU were fruitless as the Provincial Development Coordinator, Edgar Seenza who chairs the unit was not available for comment.
However, ZIMCODD says the lack of trust ‘ stems from the lack of transparency and accountability on COVID-19 resource mobilization, allocation, and expenditure’ as well as the abuse of public resources.
In its latest Public resources management situational report, ZIMCODD states that citizens are deprived of public resources information and community engagement while service delivery continues to deteriorate.
“While funds continue being mismanaged, the state of service delivery continues to deteriorate with all the districts reporting water shortages, sporadic sewer bursts, poor roads, and uncollected refuse.
“Challenges such as corruption continue to hinder good public resources management, which is a necessary for effective service delivery, sustainable economic growth and development.
“To expedite citizen participation, Local Authorities should develop their internal capacity to integrate participatory processes into their systems, mobilize citizens, and conduct participatory planning, budgeting, and review processes,” said ZIMCODD.
Mutare West also covers Chiadzwa where the community is adamant that the consolidated government firm ZCDC is dissolved as it has failed dismally to resuscitate the economy of Zimbabwe.
Moses Mukwada of Bocha Diamond Community Trust states that revenue loss in the diamond sector flagged by the Auditor General’s 2019 report vindicates their claims that diamonds are not properly managed.
He states that the firm has failed to employ locals, engage in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) interventions in consultation with the community, and continues to violate the rights of the community.
“There are still reports of hundreds of millions missing, yet it is the reason why it came into existence. The question which comes to mind is whether the dissolution of companies in 2016 and the formation of ZCDC was an economic move or merely an economic gimmick.
“We want the government to disband that company since it is failing to live up to expectations and the people are poorer,” he said.
Unverified statistics by Community Based Organisations estimate that the local population has exponentially increased from around 2000 households to over 5000 households due to prevailing illegal mining activities.
Diamond mining activities have also come with a premium for the villagers who are now forced to use the scarce US dollars, as dealers, artisanal miners, and business most prefer the green back to the local currency.