TellZim Newspaper has engaged Masvingo City Council (MCC) to promote access to credible information that will go a long way in enhancing transparency and accountability in public resource and finance management for the benefit of residents.
During an engagement meeting organized by TellZim on November 12, 2021, Masvingo Mayor Councilor Collen Maboke said council is more than willing to ensure that credible information about projects and council operations reach out to residents timeously.
I want to thank TellZim for this engagement, I am sure that this kind of collaboration and partnership will go a long way in promoting information dissemination, accountability and transparency at council.
The meeting enlightened us on the importance of disseminating information in real time. I believe residents will also commit themselves to pay their bills in time if they have enough information on how council spend their monies, said Maboke.
Masvingo Public Relations Officer, Ashley Jinjika said the meeting helped to close the gap that was there between local authorities and media on informing residents.
“The meeting was so insightful. It unearthed gaps between media and local authority. I personally think that such engagements are necessary for development of a city and also for us to have informed citizens,” said Jinjika.
TellZim Director and Editor Passmore Kuzipa said he was excited about the partnership with council in information dissemination a move he says will promote transparency, accountability and development.
“We are excited about this engagement and the possible synergies that were discussed that aim to promote access to credible information by residents. We believe that if people have information they will act from an informed position.
It will also contribute to residents paying their rates and bills in time and more importantly increasing transparency and accountability in public finance management in local authorities,” said Kuzipa.
He also said that as an organisation they are going to move to all seven districts of Masvingo as well as Manicaland and Midlands provinces to broaden the partnership.
“We want to take this initiative to other local authorities. We have seven districts and hope to reach out to every district as well as Manicaland and Midlands province.
“As a paper, we are a news organisation with a human face, we do not just tell the story but we also live it and as a result, we create platforms that enhance interaction of residents, councilors and council management,” said Kuzipa.
As part of the resolutions made during the meeting, TellZim News resolved that it will live stream post full council meetings and the discussions will be open for all media houses in Masvingo.
During the engagement meeting, it was also agreed there should be an engagement meeting between journalists in Masvingo and council where council management will explain in detail how they operate and their mandate so that reporters when they write their stories, they do it from an informed position.
It was also resolved that starting from this year, council will introduce municipal reporter of the year awards to promote municipal reporting by local media houses where adjudication and call for submission of stories will be done.
TellZim also offered space in the paper as part of partnering with council so that the latter brings information they need to be disseminated to residents from time to time making use of the dedicated space.
As a way of promoting access to council information, it was agreed that the council will be sharing press releases and press statements which will be shared across media houses.
The facilitators during the meeting Dr Last Alfandika and Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) Vice Chairperson Jasper Maposa highlighted the importance of access to information and the role of the media in promoting development.