Michael Magoronga, Midlands Correspondent
LOCAL authorities have been called to lead economic development in their respective communities in line with the devolution drive and ensure attainment of a middle income economy by 2030.
Midlands provincial administrator, Mr Albiot Maronge, told stakeholders in Kwekwe on Tuesday that Government’s devolution mantra must be embraced by all and be used as an instrument to empower all communities and ensure sustainable development.
Under the devolution model, implementation of development projects should be done inclusively at grass-roots level.
“There are lots of changes that are taking place. So, as local authorities we have to adapt to those changes.
“There is a new Government in place that restructured governance system and introduced the devolution concept,” said Mr Maronge.
“Government has since shifted ground in a significant way and let’s also respond to the change and ask ourselves whether we are doing enough to run with the new agenda.
“My fear is that we might remain stuck in the pre-colonial era when a lot has changed. There has been watershed changes that were effected by the new Government in the country.
“The new Government has set a new agenda that is very clear.”
At district level the devolution concept also involves District Development Committees (DDC) whose mandate is to provide technical and development support while co-ordinating implementation of programmes on the ground and reviewing progress.
Mr Maronge, however, said little has been done on the ground despite the policy shift.
“Implementation has been a challenge with a number of projects as the phase has been a huge gap in most local authorities. We are not doing things.
“That is why we are not moving as fast as we could. The DDCs then come in to solve the implementation challenges and make sure on behalf of Government that projects are implemented,” he said.
The DDC, he said, was also put in place to coordinate projects bringing together local authorities, Government departments and business community and non-governmental organisations.
Mr Maronge also acknowledged that Kwekwe as a district was unique in that it has three local authorities, adding that the role of a DDC would be more significant in such a set up. Kwekwe District comprises Kwekwe City, Redcliff Municipality and Zibagwe Rural District Councils.
Mr Maronge chided non-governmental organisations who by-pass relevant authorities to implement programmes on the ground saying they should complement Government efforts rather than competing.
He also urged local authorities and Government departments to work together.