Contestation, confusion and change: urban governance and service delivery in Zimbabwe (2000-2012)
This study investigates how political dynamics impacted on service delivery in urban areas of Zimbabwe in general and, SPECIFICALLY, in the cities of Harare, Bulawayo, Masvingo and Mutare. The problematic of urban governance in these cities has been marked by contestation, confusion and change for a range of reason which would seem to be associated with issues of planning and management of urban areas, infrastructure such as provision and maintenance of roads, housing, public transport and water and sanitation. Consequently, these urban governance contestations almost led to the collapse of most if not all, urban functions and services in the aforementioned urban areas. That Zimbabwe is suffering from a crisis of governance and public service delivery for decades is not in doubt. In this thesis, I argue that whilst much attention has been given to state governance, it is at the local governance level where the impacts of the crisis are more severe. Why at the local governance level? Local government is mandated to deliver directly or indirectly key human development services to citizens. Inevitably, urban governance is an important determinant of urban services delivery. Urban governance takes place within a wider governance and political context. Post-independent urban Zimbabwe was dominated by the Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF) until the turn of the millennium. When the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) began dominating urban local authorities, urban governance signaled an era marked by contestation, confusion and change. Subsequent urban governance political dynamics had profound impacts on service delivery.