Local authorities take care of people from cradle to grave through the services that they provide to their residents. This was said by the Minister of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Hon. Sithembiso Nyoni (left) yesterday 14 October 2020) as she delivered the keynote address at the launch of the two-day Local Government SADC Protocol@work Summit and Awards event being held at the Cresta Lodge, Harare. Urban and rural local authorities are participating in the event which is being held under the theme, Voice and Choice.

Minister Nyoni said that in everything that people did, local authorities were involved. She summed up the cradle-to-grave role of local authorities with a step-by-step analogy rarely articulated in the manner she did.

“Today as we are gathered here, children are being born in clinics which are built and administered by local authorities where they will seek health services throughout their lives,” she said adding that the children  go to schools that are built by local authorities . She said that it was the local authorities that provide housing, clean the environment through provision of sewer and garbage collection among other services.

Minister Nyoni went on to say that the same local authority provided vocational training centres, business and small business workspaces and create employment.

“And finally, when people die, they are all buried on the land of local authorities. So really local authorities take care of us from cradle to grave,” she said.

The Minister of Local Government and Public Works Hon. July Moyo also graced the launch which was held after hours yesterday. Participants at the summit include members of the Urban Councils Association of Zimbabwe (UCAZ) and Association of Rural District Councils of Zimbabwe (ARDCZ) and members of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Local Government.

The event which is being hosted by Gender Links Zimbabwe, a non-governmental organisation championing the gender mainstreaming in governance with special focus on local authorities. The summit is being conducted in two separate sessions where rural district councils are making presentations on best practices on gender mainstreaming initiatives in one room while urban councils  are doing the same in another room.

There are two panels of judges for the two groups who are adjudicating on the presentations. Thereafter there will be an awards ceremony today at 1400 hours where winners will be presented with certificates. The winners will automatically qualify for the local government SADC regional summit where they will compete with their peers from local authorities in the SADC countries.

In her presentation the Gender Links Country Director Ms Priscilla Maposa said that Gender Links was working in partnership with the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works. She said history was being made as it was the first time that the gender summit was being graced by two cabinet ministers.

“Ladies and gentlemen, today is a special day for us in the local government sector. Today we are making history as the local government sector in Zimbabwe. As you all understand, our summit is taking place when the whole world we are faced with the COVID-19 pandemic. But I want to thank all of you for making this day a success. Allow me to thank Honourable Nyoni and Honourable Moyo.  And this is the first time that we are having our local government summit being graced by two cabinet ministers and this is not a joke. We do not take this for granted. I want to say we are very much humbled by your presence,” she said.

Ms Maposa added that stakeholders in the local government sector were gathered to take stock of how local authorities in Zimbabwe were mainstreaming gender in line with the provisions of the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development as well as the Sustainable Development Goals. We want to thank councils for the case studies that they have submitted. She said the Centres of Excellency Programme had been extended to all the 92 local authorities in Zimbabwe.