THE disbursement of devolution funds has brought hope in Chipinge in Manicaland province which has been laggin behind in development.
Chipinge Rural District Council (RDC), among many other projects, bought desks and chairs for 30 schools in the district from the disbursement of the funds.
In 2019, Chipinge RDC received ZW$40 860 000, which the district chief executive officer, Blessing Mamvosha, said was also used to drill three boreholes and build two vendors markets at Checheche Growth Point.
“In 2019, we got ZW$40 860 000 and we used it for the following projects, rehabilitation of staff house at Gumira clinic in Ward 22 for which we used ZW$450 000.
“We bought an excavator then we drilled three boreholes at Joppa, Checheche and Chipangayi.We constructed two vending markets at Checheche at a cost of ZW$301 000. It is now 75% complete. At Chipangayi, we are building a house at the clinic, which is 50% complete,” he said.
“We bought dumper trailer for use on our roads.We also bought a front-end loader, which is yet to be delivered (at the time of writing).We are building a classroom block at Goko primary.”
Mamvosha said the other projects included the construction of school blocks, clinic staff quarters at Checheche and Chipangayi and the refurbishment of graders.
He, however, said the government did not disburse the ZW$57 million allocated to the district for 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He said the funds could have ensured the completion of some of the outstanding projects.
Local civic groups have, however, urged Chipinge RDC to involve local communities in the planning processes so that they get their buy-in and input before implementing projects in the area.
Chipinge Residents Trust (CRT) chairperson, Vhurande Jambaya, commended the local authority for delivering on its mandate and the transparency shown in the disbursement of devolution funds.
“Of course we are happy that they have tried to be transparent on how the money was used, but we feel going forward they could do more by consulting the residents on key priority areas,” he said.
Jambaya said the council should prioritise the provision of clean water over furnishing schools.
“Most rural wards really need boreholes so that we reduce on the distance people have to walk to get water. Most of our roads are now impassable and this needs urgent attention, so a proper priority list needs to be drafted in consultation with residents,” he said.
Platform for Youth and Community Development (PYD) director, Claris Madhuku, concurred with Jambaya, saying:
“The way they used the devolution funds and the level of transparency exhibited raises hope that development can really be achieved and our appeal is for the local authority to involve residents as much as possible.
“We were also invited to witness the schools furniture hand-over ceremony, which is good, but we demand greater involvement including during the planning phase so that we can have an input on what the local authority should prioritise,” he added.
According to the 2013 Constitution, central government is expected to allocate “not less than 5% of the national revenues raised in any financial year” to provincial and metropolitan councils and local authorities.