Mutare City Council is working towards a local governance charter set to provide a common factor of operation in a bid to enhance transparency and accountability.
First of its kind in Zimbabwe councils, the Centre for Public Accountability (CPA) spearheaded charter, is meant to tackle loopholes within councils that promotes corruption and maladministration.
Speaking at a one-day conference in Mutare CPA projects coordinator Chris Kabwato
said the purpose of the charter is to promote transparency and participation of various stakeholders in council business.
“A charter is an agreement among members of an organised society or between a community and its leadership which defines and limits the rights and duties of each.
“What we are encouraging is a tradition of openness. Corruption thrives when there are no mechanisms of checks and balances.
“Therefore what we hope to achieve is the rate payer who holds the elected and appointed officials accountable,” he said.
Mutare is being used as a pilot project to see how the charter will work. After extensive consultations with residents and stakeholders, the charter will then be written and become binding to all.
The conference was attended by senior government officials and mayors from Gwanda, Chiredzi and Norton.
Mutare Mayor Brian James said his council felt honoured to be the first to have this charter in Zimbabwe saying this would be beneficial to both the council and ratepayers.
“Our ratepayers expect us to be accountable in every transaction that takes place in council. With this charter, we hope to improve relations within various departments in the civic centre as well as the ratepayers’ association,” said James.
Mutare Residents’ Association, different mayors and representatives of numerous civic organisations were in agreement the charter should be adopted, not only in Mutare, but across the country in a bid to stop corruption and increase accountability.