Budget Consultation Meetings Marred by Low Attendance

Most of the Chitungwiza municipality budget consultation meetings held last week were marred by low attendances by residents and other stakeholders. A number of residents voiced their concerns on the way how these meetings were called for by the local authority. The most prominent concern was around the short notice given to stakeholders before these meetings. Barely less than 24 hour notice was given to stakeholders in respect of these pre-budget meetings. Pre-budget consultations are aimed at increasing transparency and accountability through scrutinizing the previous budget and then concur on priority issues relating to local development.

Most of the pre-budget meetings held last week had an average attendance of less than 100 participants in total, with the Zengeza 5 crèche meeting recording 43 participants and the St. Mary’s community hall meeting which had about 70 participants. The most topical issue raised by stakeholders during the budget consultations was around the water provision budget, which is not captured in the proposed 2019 budget for Chitungwiza municipality. Chitungwiza has no water source of its own and entirely relies on Harare water, therefore it is a cause for concern for stakeholders why there is no budgetary provision for the construction of the intended Muda dam project in the council’s proposed 2019 budget.

The Chitungwiza and Manyame Rural Residents Association (CAMERA) implore the Chitungwiza municipality to take these pre-budget consultative meetings and the participation of stakeholders in the budget process seriously. The council must inform residents and disseminate information on these meetings timeously. CAMERA urges residents to attend the remaining pre-budget meetings in large numbers and raise substantive issues.

Source: Chitungwiza and Manyame Rural Residents Association (CAMERA)