Social Accountability and Oversight in Building Urban Resilience: A Critique of the Roles of Parliament and Council in the Urban Affairs of Zimbabw
Keywords:service delivery, enforcement, capacity building, budgeting, procurement, implementation
Throughout the past few decades, social accountability has emerged as an essential means through which residents within council jurisdictions participate in local governance. This article argues that inadequate accountability, oversight and poor governance are the primary challenges in Zimbabwe‟s service delivery. It evaluates the oversight functions of Parliament and councils in the management of urban affairs in Zimbabwe to determine the extent to which engagement and transparency have been utilised as pillars of social accountability. A key observation in this study is the diverse capacity challenges faced by urban councils within the administrative structures and oversight functions. Oversight is very poor in council procurement. Legislation, enforcement and local capacity-building have to be improved in this regard. Parliament and councils have to take on a stronger role in keeping local governments accountable to citizens. This depends on the existence of a conducive legal, administrative and institutional framework for local decision-making in areas, such as planning, budgeting, priority-setting, human resources management, procurement and implementation. This, ultimately, ensures good governance and prudent management of local affairs.