This study is an analysis of local governance and service provision in the Zimbabwean urban communities using Harare and Masvingo municipalities as case studies. It looks at the patterns of municipal service provision and residents’ access to these services. The study hypothesises that there is a general decline of municipal service delivery in Zimbabwe’s urban local authorities. The study argues that poor governance of urban local authorities affects the service delivery in the municipalities. The major research objectives of the study were to explore the extent to which residents are involved in the service provision decision-making processes in the two cities of Harare and Masvingo; to give an outline of the challenges faced by each of the two cities’ authorities in the provision of services to the public; and to draw lessons from the governance and service provision experiences of the two local authorities.Research methods involved both a theoretical review and an empirical study based on case studies, qualitative and exploratory approaches. The studied municipalities were found lacking in terms of involvement of residents in municipal governance issues and service delivery. Among other things, the study recommends full involvement of all stakeholders in the municipal governance processes.
This study will contribute insight into both the debate and practice of local governance. It will contribute to the understanding of governance regimes that underlie the provision of services to residents of the selected cases. Through better understanding of the complexity and dynamics of local governance and service provision in the two cities of Harare and Masvingo, the study will provide lessons learnt on potentially the most critical issues as a basis for future reforms and practices in the governance and services provision in urban local authorities.
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