Harare Residents have resolved to engage the Minister of Local Government, Saviour Kasukuwere following the Harare City Council’s failure to publish a report on the 2018 budget consultation process before submitting the proposed budget for approval by the Minister.
Prior to the budget consultative meetings, the Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) issued a statement expressing concern over the poor publicity around the meetings.
CHRA demanded that the Harare City Council should make public, the report on the budget consultative meetings before the proposed budget is submitted to the Minister of Local Government for approval.
This was a measure to ensure that residents’ concerns were adequately captured in the proposed budget.
However, on top of the fact that the consultative meetings were characterized by very poor attendance as a result of short notices given to residents as well as poor publicity, the Harare City Council has since submitted its proposed $269.3 million budget to the Local Government Ministry.
In light of the challenge, residents have, in accordance with the law, resolved to write to the Local Government Minister, seeking to reject the proposed budget.
Speaking during a programme on service delivery at a local radio station in Harare, residents said the 2018 budget consultative meetings were simply a rubber stamping process whose outcome would not in any way reflect their views.
The residents blamed the Harare City Council for “deliberately sabotaging the consultative meetings”.
“Under normal circumstances, this budget is supposed to be for the people and by the people but that is not the case. The proposed budget cannot be said to be reflective of the wishes of the residents of Harare given the low attendance that characterized the budget consultative meetings. In some areas, the meetings were attended by as low as 20 people and that shows the consultative process was nothing but a complete sham,” said Jimmy Mahachi, a Mabvuku resident.
CHRA Chief Executive Officer, Mfundo Mlilo said the failure by the Harare City Council to produce a report on the budget consultative meetings justifies rejection of the proposed budget by residents.
“We would have wanted a report on the budget consultations but that was never the case. What happened is clear testimony to the fact that there is no social contract between the residents and the city council. Citizens should have been actively involved in the process but that did not happen. If the residents and the council are fighting over the budget, then whose budget is it?” said Mlilo.
The residents also resolved to fight the proposed increase in water tariffs saying this was unjustified especially given the fact that the Harare City Council has over the years failed to ensure constant water supplies for residents.