The residents of Zaka appreciated the accessibility and responsiveness of local leaders in addressing challenges faced by the Citizens in the district. According to the leadership performance score card analysis by the COTRAD Action for Accountability groups (AAGs) the Public officials have been non responsive to citizen needs in the district of Zaka without conducting any feedback meetings. Members of Parliament and councillors were not able to conduct their duties diligently as they were not aware of what is expected from them. The information gap between citizens and the duty bearers prohibited transparency, accountability and good governance practices to prevail in the district. Community Tolerance Reconciliation and Development Action for Accountability Groups (AAGs) Social assessment also tells that many roads in Zaka North were in a poor state and bridges collapsing. Lawrence Mageza COTRAD Action for Accountability Group leader of Zaka North Constituency ward 16 said that, “issue with poor road networks in Zaka North Constituency was problematic. Transportation of medicines to Mageza clinic and other local health centres, food aid to the distribution centres such as Machingambi Schools, Mawere Business Centre and Nyakunhuwa Schools was hampered by bad roads networks.” The residents were travelling long distances to and fro accessing education, health, goods and services since numerous townships were closing down.
COTRAD conducted a number of Community dialogues and community working parties in Zaka North Constituency and at first the public officials were reluctant to attend. However due to pressure and protracted engagement with the Zaka Rural District Council the public officials attended the meetings. The engagement meetings help the residents to submit their priority issues to Zaka Rural District Council issue presented are road resuscitation and bridge rehabilitation topped their priority list. The protracted engagement resulted to the use of plough back funds to resuscitate the abandoned Ngwere road which links Machingambi schools, Mageza clinic and Mawere shopping centre in Zaka North Constituency to Jerara Growth Point. After numerous petitions were presented to the Zaka North MP Mr Mavhenyengwa, he successfully engaged econet wireless for the construction of a network booster at Ngwere Mountains in a bid to improve communication network systems. Ellen Siyawandlera COTRAD Action for accountability Group Leader of Zaka North confirms that their social audit on infrastructure and development noted the construction of Ngwere econet booster and roads. “The refurbishment of these roads will improve the service delivery system and reduce unnecessary distance travelled by the villagers to access goods and services”, she added. The young people of ward 16 Zaka North Constituency acknowledged that their public officials are now regularly conducting ward consultative and feedback meetings which is an indication of improved-change of behavior.
COTRAD therefore maintains that it is the role of the public officials and Rural District Council to address the plight of the citizens. COTRAD also encourages the villagers to fearlessly engage public officials and relevant ministries to present issues affecting their communities.
Participants at a Dialogue in Zaka and a booster constructed at Ngwere Mountains after COTRAD intervention