Lovemore Kadzura Rusape Correspondent
MAKONI Rural District councillors have been challenged to be transparent and socially accountable to the electorate in their operations in order to foster a spirit of cohesion and meaningful development in their respective wards.
Speaking at the official opening of a two-day social accountability workshop, district administrator, Mr Darlington Museka said councillors were the key drivers of rural economic development and must promote participatory development and citizen empowerment.
“As leaders, councillors must demonstrate that they about the communities that they lead. We encourage you to be servant leaders who put the interests of the majority first. Ensure that you dispense your duties in an inclusive, participatory and collaborative manner, which ultimately reduces conflict and increases cooperation.
“As councillors you are expected to champion development in your areas of jurisdiction.
‘‘Shun all corrupt tendencies and also work in tandem with other Government structures in your wards. Councillors must respect the laws of the land and avoid abusing their positions. You must respect the Constitution of Zimbabwe and the Rural District Councils Act,” said Mr Museka.
Family Visions Trust executive director, Mr Obert Gonzo whose organisation organised the workshop said accountability by those in authority led to responsible leadership.
He added that roles and duties of councillors must be clearly defined so that they became answerable for their actions.
“Social responsibility is a process that empowers citizens to make their leaders such as councillors responsive to their needs and demands. It gives communities the power to demand quality service provision and responsiveness of the councillors to issues affecting communities. In situations where accountability is respected, leaders consult and give feedback to the communities in which they are living.
“Communities on the other hand are able to ask their leaders questions or seek clarity on services they are expecting or getting. Citizens and leaders cannot exist without engaging each other. Accountable leaders make communities they lead cooperative, responsible and less antagonistic. Being accountable benefits not only citizens but leaders also,” he said.
Mr Gonzo added that people become supportive, collaborative and respectful to their leaders when they are happy with the manner in which leaders are answerable for their actions and responsive to local problems.
“When councillors are accountable, they increase transparency, reduce mistrust from people and prevent corruption and nepotism,” said Mr Gonzo.
Makoni is the biggest district in the country with 39 wards and an estimated population of 380 000 dwellers.