2018 HCC budget consultative process a sham

The Harare City Council will be conducting pre-budget consultative meetings on the City’s budget for the Financial Year ending 31 December 2018.

The meetings were supposed to commence on Friday, August 25, 2017 but some of them had to be cancelled due to low turnout as well as other logistical and administrative issues.

CHRA is reliably informed that some councilors are protesting that the Harare City Council has failed to implement recommendations made during the 2013 budget consultative process and the current meetings prove that the local authority is taking residents for granted.

Below are CHRA’s submissions on the budget consultative process:

  • It is the process or manner in which the budget consultative meetings are conducted which will result in an acceptable and legitimate outcome. In this regard, CHRA notes with serious concern the short notice given to residents and other relevant stakeholders as well as the lack of adequate publicity around the consultative meetings on both print and electronic media
  • Due to the lack of adequate publicity, CHRA is worried that some of the meetings will register very low attendance and as has been the norm in previous years, this will result in submissions from a few attendees being taken to reflect the concerns and contributions of the majority of Harare residents. It is thus necessary to endorse submissions based on a minimum number of attendees per each consultative meeting.
  • The “consultative meetings by HCC are nothing but a ploy to legitimize a process that does not in any way resemble a genuine and participatory budget consultative process
  • There is need for a comprehensive NEEDS ASSESSMENT process that will inform the Harare City Council budget
  • The report from the budget consultative meetings must be produced within a month of concluding the meetings and be made public
  • The Council budget should reflect the reality on the ground especially putting into account the dire economic situation currently prevailing in the country
  • Priority should be given to issues of service delivery and the health sector deserves equal attention as well. CHRA opposes a situation whereby sports for instance, is prioritized with millions being allocated to sports development at the expense of service delivery.
  • The budget should address and prioritize the Harare City Council’s vision of attaining World Class City Status by 2025
  • The budget must pay attention to the issue of climate change (and identify mitigation strategies) which has affected Harare as evidenced by (for instance) flooding that affected some parts of the capital last year. CHRA also implores the City of Harare to ensure that measures are put in place to deal with flooding resulting from issues such as poor drainage
  • The City Council must also put in place adequate infrastructure to accommodate vendors. A clean city yes, but it has to be noted that vending is largely as a result of the current economic hardships in the country.

CHRA is in the process of gathering submissions from Harare residents on the priority areas for the Harare City Council budget and a comprehensive report will be produced in due course.

Source: Combined Harare Residents Association