Academic journal article Journal of Emerging Trends in Economics and Management Sciences

Implementation of Strategic Plans by Zimbabwean Local Authorities: A Case of Nyanga Rural District Council

Academic journal article Journal of Emerging Trends in Economics and Management Sciences

Implementation of Strategic Plans by Zimbabwean Local Authorities: A Case of Nyanga Rural District Council

Article excerpt

Abstract

The local government of Zimbabwe adopted and introduced strategic planning to local authorities in the years 1997 to 1998. Local authorities are therefore expected to formulate and implement strategic plans. The significance of this study is to highlight the reasons behind failure by local authorities to implement strategic plans. The research focuses on determining if strategic planning by local authorities leads to successful strategy implementation, furthermore it aims to assess if strategic plans are being implemented and establish the challenges that are faced by local authorities in executing strategic plans. Finally, it seeks to determine whether successful implementation ensures efficient and effective service delivery. The study used interviews, questionnaires and focus group discussions as primary sources and council records as secondary data to establish that a number of challenges hinder the implementation process. The challenges fit in the categories of political, economic, and legislative elements. These revelations show that there is a gap between planning and implementation and cast considerable doubt on whether Zimbabwean local authorities are capacitated to implement strategic plans. Among the solutions are that council chambers should not be used as political battle fields at the expense of planning to improve service delivery, there is need to revise the legislations that guide the operations of local authorities, the central government needs to increase financial support to local authorities and that stakeholders be involved throughout the process to ensure successful implementation.

Keywords: strategic plans, strategy implementation, service delivery, participation.

INTRODUCTION

Local authorities are small democratic units which were created to spur democratic participation to citizens in matters that affect their daily lives, Vosloo et al (1974). The Zimbabwean central government anticipated that planning strategically was going to bring an end to poor service provision and see the dawn of quality service provision from the country's local authorities therefore increasing stakeholder expectations; this led to the introduction of strategic planning by local authorities. To this end, through Section 10 of the Regional, Town and Country Planning Act Chapter (29:12), Zimbabwean Urban and Rural District Councils were accorded planning authority status by the central government. Urban and Rural Councils prepare plans for their areas, they are therefore regarded as "planning authorities" Zimbabwe Institute Local Government Paper 0506 (2006:6).

Nyanga Rural District Council (NRDC) which is the case study in this research is located right on the hem of the Zimbabwe and Mozambique border stretching for about 100 km along the border. It is composed of 31 wards divided to form two constituencies namely the Southern and Northern constituencies. It touches boundaries with three other rural district councils namely Mutasa, Makoni and Mudzi RDCs. The local authority is located 120 km away from the capital of Manicaland, Mutare. Nyanga Rural District Council was formed after the amalgamation process of Nyanga District and Nyanga Rural Councils in 1993 through the Rural District Councils Act of 1988.

The local authority has in place a 10 year strategic plan 2013 to 2022 which was approved in May 2012. This strategic plan for the period 2013-2022 is largely based on the first five-year District Strategic Plan which expired in 2011. It is also stated in the current strategic plan that most of the planned projects in the 2007 to 2011 Nyanga District Strategic Plan remained unimplemented. For this reason, this ten year Strategic Plan for Nyanga District draws most of its contents from the first district strategic plan, NRDC 2013-2022 Strategic Plan (2012).

The planning process is a culmination of a number of phases and activities to be completed in identifying with a given objective. …

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