An Investigation into the Efficiency of Functioning of the Local Authority as a Crucial Element of Community Resilience to Climate-related Disasters

Washington Muzari *

Chinhoyi University of Technology, P. Bag 7724, Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe; Washington Muzari, Zimbabwe.

Mandivamba Rukuni

Barefoot Education for Afrika Trust, 79 Harare Drive, Harare, Zimbabwe; Mandivamba Rukuni, Zimbabwe.

Oniward Svubure

Chinhoyi University of Technology, P. Bag 7724, Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe; Washington Muzari, Zimbabwe.

Wirimayi Gatsi

Chinhoyi University of Technology, P. Bag 7724, Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe; Washington Muzari, Zimbabwe.

Daniel Jambwa

Chinhoyi University of Technology, P. Bag 7724, Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe; Washington Muzari, Zimbabwe.

Godwin Mavima

Chinhoyi University of Technology, P. Bag 7724, Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe; Washington Muzari, Zimbabwe.

Tatenda Tsiko

Chinhoyi University of Technology, P. Bag 7724, Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe; Washington Muzari, Zimbabwe.

Masimba Mukava

Chinhoyi University of Technology, P. Bag 7724, Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe; Washington Muzari, Zimbabwe.

Peter Rwakatiwana

Chinhoyi University of Technology, P. Bag 7724, Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe; Washington Muzari, Zimbabwe.

Aleck Muchandiona

Chinhoyi University of Technology, P. Bag 7724, Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe; Washington Muzari, Zimbabwe.

Ezra Pandasvika

Chinhoyi University of Technology, P. Bag 7724, Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe; Washington Muzari, Zimbabwe.

Desire Zhakata

Chinhoyi University of Technology, P. Bag 7724, Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe; Washington Muzari, Zimbabwe.

Forbes Kabote

Chinhoyi University of Technology, P. Bag 7724, Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe; Washington Muzari, Zimbabwe.

*Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.


Abstract

Aims: The main objective of the study was to analyze the relationship between the efficiency of operation of the local authority (independent variable) and community resilience to agriculture-threatening hydro-climatic natural disasters (dependent variable), with particular focus on droughts and floods in Lower Muzarabani District of the Zambezi Valley in Zimbabwe.

Study Design:  The study was designed based on the stratified random sampling technique. Linear regression and correlation analyses were used for hypothesis testing.

Place and Duration of Study: The study was part of a PhD in Development Studies (Leadership for Africa’s Development) that was conducted jointly at the University of Africa in Lusaka, Zambia, and BEAT Doctoral Academy in Harare, Zimbabwe. Sponsorship was provided by Chinhoyi University of Technology under a Staff Development Fellowship, between August 2016 and November 2020.

Methodology:  The survey was conducted in Lower Muzarabani District of the Zambezi Valley in Zimbabwe, on a sample of 200 rural households. A structured questionnaire was used to determine resilience scores for the dependent variable (community resilience) and independent variable (efficiency of functioning of the local authority), based on a 5-point Likert Scale.

Results: Linear regressions between the dependent and independent variables exceeded 2 for each of the three scenarios; and correlations were greater than 0.5 for each scenario. These results were true at P = 0.000, that is at P < 0.001. Scenarios were delineated by the disaster governance legislation in operation during three different time-periods. The results therefore indicated a strong, positive impact of efficiency of functioning of the local authority on community resilience to the climate-related disasters of droughts and floods.

Conclusion: The results indicate that there is considerable potential for raising community resilience by improving the efficiency of functioning of the local authority. First, local government autonomy in Lower Muzarabani should be improved. Secondly, income sources for local government development projects need to be diversified.  Thirdly, the participation of traditional leaders such as chiefs, headmen and village heads in rural development processes should be enhanced. Fourth, local authorities should ensure good governance by being effective, transparent, accountable, and institutionally coherent. Fifth, ministerial powers should be devolved to local authorities. Sixth, a clear national framework for local economic development should be provided through effective fiscal, political and legal recognition and access to an equitable share of national resources by local authorities. The efficiency of operation of the local authority could also be enhanced through building and connecting commodity value chains, improving agricultural productivity and marketing, and developing agro-enterprises. The expeditious and effective implementation of the above measures can significantly improve the efficiency of operation of the local authority. Ultimately, this should lead to higher community resilience to the prevailing hydro-climatic disasters of droughts and floods in Lower Muzarabani District and areas with similar agro-ecological, demographic, socio-economic, cultural and political characteristics.

Keywords: Local authority, efficiency, community resilience, agriculture, droughts, floods


How to Cite

Muzari , W., Rukuni , M., Svubure , O., Gatsi , W., Jambwa , D., Mavima , G., Tsiko , T., Mukava , M., Rwakatiwana , P., Muchandiona , A., Pandasvika , E., Zhakata , D., & Kabote , F. (2024). An Investigation into the Efficiency of Functioning of the Local Authority as a Crucial Element of Community Resilience to Climate-related Disasters. South Asian Journal of Social Studies and Economics, 21(3), 18–30. https://doi.org/10.9734/sajsse/2024/v21i3780

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