Assessing the implications of centre-local relations on service delivery in municipalities: Case of Chitungwiza
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The area of centre-local relations in local government is a contemporary and topical debate in Zimbabwe. It was on this background that the research decided to undertake a study on centre-local relations and its implications of service delivery in Chitungwiza municipality. The views of different authorities on centre-local relations were reviewed to further analyse the implications of centre-local relations on service delivery in municipalities. The study triangulated different data collection methods such as key informant interviews, documentary search, in-depth interviews, observation and survey to obtain detailed data on the state of centre-local relations and its implications on service delivery in Chitungwiza municipality. The findings of the study revealed that centre-local relations between the Ministry of Local Government and the Chitungwiza municipality are highly centralised. The parent ministry retains overall powers and control over the municipality. The Minister who is supposed to play a strategic role in policy formulation and implementation is involved in the day to day running of the municipality leaving no room for elected councillors and residents in general to determine their own destiny. It has been established that centre-local relations that are supposed to foster independence and autonomy of the municipality has turned into a master-servant relationship that has negatively affected service delivery. The study concluded that hyper-centralised governance relations are hindering effective service delivery in the municipality. This has been evidenced by erratic water supply, potholed roads, poor refuse collection and bursting of sewer pipes. The study recommends that the central government through the Ministry of Local Government must grant the municipality more autonomy as a measure of improving service delivery.