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Service Charter To Transform Campaign Promises Into Policy

By Bernard Chiketo

Mutare City service charter will facilitate the translation of elected officials’ campaign promises for quality service provision, a senior council official has said.

Deputy mayor Farai Bhiza told a virtual meeting hosted by Peace Building and Capacity Development Foundation (PACDEF) to publicize the MCC Service Charter recently that councilors are pushing for the immediate completion of the charter which is currently in draft form.

“The document is much awaited. It will guide council in matters of its response and action towards smart service delivery.

“Ass policy makers we will push for it (to be finalized) since it helps us to translate our campaign promises into public policy issues… our focus is to push for the final document which council can be held accountable for without further delay,” Bhiza said.

PACDEF monitoring and evaluation officer Lloyd Chisese whose organization was running a project – Strengthening Gender Sensitive Service Delivery in Mutare which tracks how council service impact on women and gender sensitive budgeting principle applauded council for committing itself to delivering quality service.

“This is their own standard that we are going to use to measure and gauge their performance as residents and ratepayers,” Chisese said.

Pacdef Monitoring and evaluation officer Lloyd Chisese

Mutare Residents and Ratepayers Association direct David Mutambirwa however expressed cautious optimism owing to what he said is a poor culture of implementing policy positions in the country.

“There is also need to change the mindset and to have the political will to implement the blueprint. History has it on record that as a country we have been very good at crafting very good blueprints but they ended up in the dustbins without implementation,” Mutambirwa cautioned.

National Association of Non-governmental Organisations eastern region coordinator Joseph Kauzani who moderated discussions during the engagement said from a public social accountability perspective a client service charters are “self-accountability tools or commitments whose provisions become the citizen’s basis for measuring performance and quality of work or the service provider.”

He said a service charter was also an expression of the organisation’s acknowledgement of the public’s right to service and its position as a duty bearer.
“It highlights avenues and availability of choice for service seekers and other related information for grievance redress as well as procedural clarity… it puts citizens in the forefront to decide about the nature, form, and type of services,” Kauzani said.

He however noted that a service charter will not by itself guaranteed quality service.

“It should be accompanied by the availability of a strong, all-inclusive and simplified feedback mechanism such as the use of Municipal checklists, community or citizen score cards, among others so that there is that harmony between duty bearers and end users of services based on We Pay, You Deliver principles,” Kauzani said.