Mutare Government
Mutare Local City Council and Civic Center Mutare Zimbabwe

Mutare has a medium level of decentralization. Higher levels of government however have the right to close local government, and remove councillors from office. The only powers local governments have are to choose contractors for projects. There are no transfer funds available to local governments from higher levels.

Data from the year 2000 shows that cities are involving civil society to participate in road and highway proposals, alterations in zoning, and major public projects. Local participation projects have been adequate and institutional and legal frameworks are sufficient to ensure the right level of participation and civic engagement.

There is no data defining local government revenue and expenditures for Mutare.
The city of Mutare is run by a Council consisting of 18 Councillors including the Executive  Mayor and the   Executive. The Councillors are elected into office by a public ballot in the 18 wards of the city for a term  of   4 years. The Councillors are the  policy makers. The Executive board comprise of Council managerial  staff headed by the  Town   Clerk. The Executive is responsible  for implementing Council policies.

The Central  Government is continually in the process of  decentralising some of its responsibilities to   Local Governments. Responsibilities for health,  education  and  etc etc have already been shed to the  Local Governments. The Central Government is however not decentralising the resources especially financial that go  with the decentralised responsibilities. Further , since about  5 years ago, the Central Government has stopped assisting  Local Authorities with financial grants to support their operations .In  most  cases the Central government is owing Local Authorities huge sums of money for service delivery and etc etc.This has severely eroded the resource base and contributed to the bankruptcy of Local Authorities resulting in poor service delivery over the years.

Local Authorities are not able to set charges without   the approval of Central Government. As a result Council is forced to subsidise its residents as the approved charges are not based on a cost  recovery concept. Fuel prices are going up five  or  so   times annually yet the Council only review charges once annually. As a result, expenditure is  far exceeded by revenue. This coupled with the high inflation, has resulted in  Council having to   operate an   overdraft facility so as to  survive. This is costing Council $ 6 million monthly in terms of interest. Service delivery has fallen to its lowest ebb in   history in areas like health, road maintenance, waste management and etc etc.

During the passing of a new budget, the Residents` Association is consulted, Councillors also  make  consultations  with  people in their  wards. The intended  budget is also published in the  press for public comments. It is felt that there is  need for more dialogue between the Council and the community stakeholders . Council should be able to make the Community understand its financial  position and the justification to  raise the rates by the  proposed  percentage.  This will help restore trust and transparency between the two.

 There is a level of transparency and accountability in that:

- there is independent auditing of municipal accounts.
- Contracts and tenders for Municipal services are published
- Disciplinary action against erring staff is in place
- There  are  laws on   disclosure of  potential conflicts of interest
- The provision of an Executive Mayor and  the Chamber Secretary's department in

The Urban Councils Act is geared to  improve governance.

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(c) UZ