Communities have difficulty in finding platforms to interact with elected officials where the tendency is to seek such interaction when campaigning around elections but thereafter being conspicuous in their absence. The LRF has taken the initiative to bridge the gap between elected officials and their communities in Midlands, Manicaland and Masvingo and this is proving to be successful.
Through discussions at these platforms, communities learnt about the role elected officials are expected to play and had opportunities to question their elected leaders, holding them accountable to their communities. Among the issues raised was the right to education in areas where there were no schools and children have to cover long distances to get to school. Other dominant concerns were about schools sending debt collectors to parents or guardians of children whoqualified for assistance under the Basic Education Assistance Module programme.
The engagement with elected officials has yielded results in Chiredzi where councillors and the MP formed a WhatsApp group platform and interacted freely with community members who had opportunities to air their concerns. The MP actively sought solutions to challenges raised by members of the community, one such challenge being the dilapidated state of the Runde Bridge in Chilonga thathas resulted in people drowning as they attempted to cross the Runde River. The MP took up the issue and Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe flighted an advert calling for engineers to submit their expression of interest with respect to the reconstruction of the bridge. Unfortunately, Government subsequently put the project on hold, citing lack of funds but the issue is now in the public domain, illustrating the impact of effective communication between the community and their MP.