The President of the Urban Councils Association of Zimbabwe (UCAZ), Clr Josiah Makombe, who is also the Mayor of the City of Gweru recently led a six-member delegation on a study tour Germany. The delegation included the First Vice President of UCAZ, Clr Blessing Tandi who is the Mayor of Mutare; Presidential Committee Members, Clr Angeline Kasipo, the Mayor of the City of Kwekwe; Mr Shangwa Mavesera, the Town Clerk of Bindura Municipality, the UCAZ Secretary General Mr Livision Mutekede and Communications Officer Mr Chrispen Musekiwa. The Local Government Association of Zambia (LGAZ) also participated and was represented by its President Clr Christopher Kang’ombe and Secretary General Mr Morris Mbolela.  The Head of GIZ Zimbabwe office Mr Stephan Lidsba, his Governance Advisor, Ms Iris Wilhelm and Senior Advisor, Mr Nerio Nyabvure were also part of the study tour. Mr Jitrenda Hargovan, a GIZ consultant was the facilitator on the tour.

The tour was undertaken from 2 to 6 December 2019 as part of the international cities platform, Connective Cities and GIZ project under the theme “Improving public service delivery at local level” . The tour was conducted from 2nd to 6th of December 2019.

The tour was a follow up to the dialogue event jointly organised by Connective Cities in and UCAZ in Harare in August this year and the subsequent Local Government Associations Exploratory meeting held on the sidelines of the 4th World Congress of the United Cities and Local Governments held from 11 to 16 November 2019 in Durban, South Africa.

The aim of the Study Tour was to further develop understanding of the roles and functions of local government associations for improving service delivery and good local governance. The tour was implemented in cooperation with the GIZ project “Strengthening the Urban Councils Association of Zimbabwe” in Zimbabwe.

Participants interacted with officials from the Germany Association of Cities (DST) in Cologne, and Berlin and learned about the structure of the local government system of Germany, the legislative framework, the legal system as it relates to local governance, the operations of DST and how it relates with the federal government and the functions and responsibilities of local authorities.

The participants also visited the German Association for Water Management, Sewage & Waste (DWA), in Hennef, the GIZ office as well as the German County Association and the Association of Municipal Companies in Berlin.

Discussions were also held with a communications company, ZebraLog who shared information about their contribution to citizen participation in local planning and development.

With support from GIZ UCAZ is working on programme aimed at improving services to its members. The Association is expected to make a significant contribution to improving the operations of its members. A lot of lessons were drawn from the study tour and participants made recommendations for implementation in the UCAZ and Zambian models. A full report will be shared with members.

Mr Stephan Lidsba in his remarks he said that the leadership of UCAZ needed to drive the process. He further said that GIZ had a two-year budget to see the process through.

The UCAZ President said that GIZ support would not go to waste. He said UCAZ valued the process seriously and promised that at the next UCAZ Presidential Committee he would make a report on a completed process and take it to the Executive Committee for adoption. Once adopted, the recommendations will be implemented, he said. The UCAZ Executive Committee will be held before the end of the year.