Pan African Civic Educators Network (PACENET) has resumed the Zotheka Project after a six-month break with the institution calling for vertical accountability between rights holders and duty bearers.
Pacenet has since 2012 been implementing Zotheka Project with technical and financial support from Tilitonse Fund. The current Zotheka project covers all Traditional Authorities (T/As) in Chiradzulu, Machinga and Thyolo including the Municipality of Luchenza.
The project current funding was supposed to cater for the period November, 2013 to August, 2015.
However the period has currently been adjusted to June, 2016 due to a six months break between December, 2014 and May, 2015.
Pacenet Board Chairperson, Anthony Kasunda disclosed on Tuesday during a Review Meeting at Up Stair Lodge in Luchenza, the break was necessitated by the need to conduct year one audit
of the project funds.
“As is usually the case, the audit took longer and hence the six months break. External
evaluation of the project, Pacenet qualified for another round of funding,” explained Kasunda.
Kasunda said during the six months break, the organization was in constant touch with its
partners on the ground especially the community-Based Organizations (CBOs) operating under transparency and accountability clubs (TACs) and continued to receive reports from district coordinators.
He said the process of citizen’s empowerment under Zotheka creates need for vertical
accountability between rights holders as service beneficiaries and duty bearers as service providers.
“For this vertical accountability to be real ‘Zotheka”’as a project envisages change of mindset
and attitudes among citizens towards the culture of total dependence, appetite for personal enrichment by duty bearers and power holders at the expense of the majority poor,” explained Kasunda.
Kasunda said the project encourages citizens to be actors/players as opposed to being spectators in the process of development, adding the project encourages citizens to be patriotic, active players and demand accountability and responsiveness from duty bearers.
“In the event of failure by duty bearers to account citizens are empowered and encouraged to enforce their demands through legal means as enshrined in their constitutional rights. Development should not be forced upon citizens but be a negotiated process between rights holders and duty bearers on the basis of need, priority of such a need and availability of resources,” he added.
Activities under Zotheka, Kasunda explained, focus on creating an informed and empowered citizenry of their rights and responsibilities as rights holders; and an informed duty bearer of its
obligations towards fulfilling citizens rights with consequences for failure to satisfy the rights.
Kasunda has since called for more funding to ensure the project is extended to other districts.
Zotheka project focuses on theory of change to enhance the capacity of CBOs and non-state actors to ensure they are equally empowered to perform with professionalism in providing checks and balances in the implementation of LDF and CDF funded projects.
Lizzy Misi Chairperson for CBOs in Chiradzulu district hailed the project for changing the mindsets of communities in demanding for better services from duty bearers.
Misi said project has helped people access quality projects and that it encouraged community participation in developmental activities.
“At first people didn’t know it’s their reasonability to keep duty bearers accountable and transparent. Now we have full ownership of projects implemented and we are able to demand for projects and services that meet our needs,” said Misi.
And Michael Chimbalanga Director of Planning and Development for Machinga District Council said Zotheka project has managed to increase people’s participation in community development projects.
He said: “People are now able to identify what type of projects they want and are able to follow how funds are being used. This is why we are happy with the resumption of the project because it will help a lot in terms of those in authority to be accountable and transparent as well as respecting the needs and wants of the people”.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :