KNOW YOUR RIGHTS

Duties of Elected Representatives:  In terms of Zimbabwe laws the electorate vote into office there are members of Parliament and Councillors who have an electoral mandate to sit in Parliament and in local Authorities on behalf of the Citizens.

  1. Ward Councillor:
    1. Formulates policies, by-laws and regulations for the City in the interests of citizens. This happens through Council Committees Harare City Council has eight committees namely Audit; Business, Environment Management, Finance and Development; Human Resource and General Purposes; Information and Publicity: Informal Sector; Education, Health, Housing, Licensing and Community Services. Each ward Councillor is allocated into one or two Council Committees through which they make their contribution towards all council businesses to progressively deliver social services. Council Committees meet and come up with recommendations.
    1. Represents the electorate in all Council business. The needs, rights, views and issues which are of interests to the arte payer should generally be conveyed to the Council through the office of the Councillor. This therefore means that the Councillor does not represent self or d partisan interests during Council business. At full council meetings, Councillors are expected to lobby and advocate on behalf of ratepayers for their issues to be translated into policy positions, through Council resolutions.
    1. Plays Oversight on all Council departments-the Councillors through their Committees and the full council oversees the functioning of Council departments. Council Committees or the full Council may direct control and guide Council management on courses of action to take. This means that Councillors supervises the council workers through the Town Clerk and Heads of Department to ensure that their decisions, recommendations and resolutions are implemented.
    1. They bring community development- Councillors are community leaders. They bring community development. The City of Harare has a 25 percent ward retention policy where 25 percent of revenue generated in a ward should be used in a ward for community development projects. Each ward should have a democratically elected Ward Development Committee made up of communities’ stakeholders including rate payers. It is through this committee that priority projects are implemented.
  2. Members of Parliament:
    1. The Parliamentarians have a legislative role that is to make or enact laws. The laws bind and govern every citizen. Members of Parliament should not just rubber stamp bill, but should interrogate them to ensure they are not only constitutional, but also address matters of national interests. Member of Parliament should speak for and air the views of those who elected them to office. This means that Parliamentarians should represent the aspirations of the electorate and engage in debates that give prominence to the wishes and will of citizens.
    1. Members of Parliament play an oversight function which extends to the monitoring of the performance of Government departments through establishing compliance with rules and regulations. Parliamentarians have power to conduct oversight of all organs of state including those at Provincial and Local Government level.
    1. There are 19 Parliamentary Portfolio Committees named after Government departments. This committee system enhances governance systems by calling on the executive to account for the manner it determines and executes public policy and programmes which strengthen citizen participation in legislative business. In these committees there is a Parliamentary Portfolio on local government which work with local authorities and citizens in formulating policies in a bid to ensure quality service delivery.

 How to hold them Accountable:

  • Residents should mobilise, unite and find common ground.
  • Regularly convene community meetings to discuss the City council and its services.
  • Elected representatives should respond to residents’ concerns without excuses.
  • Make firm resolutions as citizens and follow them up with the City Council, service providers and your elected representatives.
  • Document your community issues and present your views and issues to your Ward Councillor, your Member of Parliament, and the Chairperson of a relevant Council Committee/Parliament, the Mayor, and the HRT.
  • If it is about corruption, state the date, the people involved and circumstances, and submit your report to your HRT Residents’ Committee in your suburb or call us on the given numbers, or anticorruption and the Police.

Your Responsibility as a Citizen

  • Pursue your rights and gather as much information as possible to help you lobby policy makers and service providers.
  • Pay affordable rates and rentals to the Council every month so that council is able to provide us with satisfactory services.
  • Expose corruption by elected representatives and service providers in your community through your residents’ leadership, or as an individual. It is more significant through a collective approach.
  • Practice good hygiene, keep your surroundings clean, safe and secure.
  • Take an active role in non-partisan community initiatives.
  • Share information about services in your area.
  • Know basic details about your Ward Councillor/Member of Parliament- address, phone numbers, and which committee he or she sits in council and when they meet.
  • Report service delivery issues to your service providers Like District Officers, Zimbabwe Electricity Authority, Zimbabwe Republic Police and Ambulances. When reporting one has to consider questions like when, where and who is being involved.
  • Hold the Residents’ Committee accountable.
  • As a collective, provide solutions and alternatives to service delivery issues facing the Council
  • Participate in pre-budget consultation meetings as the outcome has an impact to you as a resident.
  • Attend feedback meetings being held in your area and prioritise services to be rendered in your community.
  • Know how the 25 percent ward retention is being used in your community.

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