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The role of public participation for the implementation of local economic development policy in urban municipalities: a case study of the Egodini Mall in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.

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The parley of this study unfolds in conformity with the ascension that citizen participation in policy and planning process within the local government is of importance. The rationale of this dissertation is to examine the role of public participation in the implementation of local economic development policies: a case study of the Egodini Mall in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. Local Municipalities operating under the authority of the ministry of local government have been awarded the sole responsibility to arrange roles, duties, and responsibilities with regards to economic development. One of the objectives of introducing local government in Zimbabwe is to foster citizen participation in policy and planning processes. Undertaking this study helped expose the problem to the extent which the concept of public participation has an impact on the overall local economic policy development initiatives within local municipalities. This study made use of both quantitative and qualitative data collection methods. For the gathering of data, the researcher used focus groups, documents analysis and semi-structured interviews. The study was conducted in the local municipality of the City of Bulawayo in Zimbabwe. Utilizing the researcher’s judgment, respondents were identified for responding through focus group discussions, questionnaires, and in-depth interviews. For this desired study, the sample size included twenty-nine (29) local community members, twenty-(20) officials from the Bulawayo City Council, twenty (20) officials from the residency associations, twenty(20) representatives from the local economic stakeholders in Bulawayo. In total data was collected from eighty-nine (89) respondents who in total formed part of the study. For the sampling of the participants, the researcher employed both probability and nonprobability sampling techniques. Data collected was analysed using the SPSS (Statistical Package for Social Sciences) data analysis package thereby fully analysing the data in both thematic analysis and statistical analysis. The study exposed that public participation is essential for LED policy formulation and implementation. The study further revealed that the Bulawayo City Council ought to take advantage of the different environmental measures and must ensure and make use of prevailing environmental factors such as political, technological, social and population mobilizers to ensure active citizenship participation. The study recommended that the Bulawayo City Council shifts from the bottleneck form of governance that favours the centralisation of decisions to a more beauracratic governance system that recognizes the importance of public participation for LED policies that are community averse.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.