Residents Call for Innovation on Budget Consultations during the Lock-Down

Residents of Harare are calling on the City of Harare to be creative and ride on technology in seeking residents input on the Council’s 2021 budget. The call come at a time when Covid-19 cases are soaring and the economy in dire straits during the indefinite “lock-down” period.

“We are worried that Council will take advantage of the lock-down guidelines and dictate on the rates increase like what they did last year, we are now receiving unaffordable huge bills for rates”, said Mr Mambara of Kambuzuma.

Ms Vimbai Nyachuru went on to say “Council have been using gatherings as platforms for soliciting stakeholder input this time we anticipate them to use technology they need to be creative.”

Harare City Council has shelved Quarterly Feedback Ward Meetings and Budget Performance meetings in compliance to lock down guidelines and rules.

In compliance to the requirements of Statutory 135 of 2019, the City of Harare should have commenced its budget consultation meetings, since all budgets must be submitted to the Minister of Local Government by August 31.

The Harare City Council have been successfully failing to comply with the provisions of the Urban Councils Act 29:15 that provides for citizen participation in municipal budgeting such as availing the budget to the public for budget inspection, advertising the budget for objections and cancelling some budget consultation meetings arbitrarily.

However, some City Officials are claiming that the charges of ZWL 400 are the lowest since it is equivalent to USD 6.60 using the black market rate of ZWL 60.00 for 1 USD.

The lock-down rules have seen serious shrinking of civic space and seen the emergence of autocratic tendencies with council and government.

The call by the residents come at a time when government has relaxed gathering rules with churches being allowed to open but only a maximum of fifty people allowed to gather.

Source: Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA)