Gweru Budget Consultation Meetings In False Start

By Sydney Gokomere

Gweru, October 06, 2016 – THE 2017 budget consultations by the City of Gweru started in chaos early this week after angry residents demanded their postponement saying they were never informed on time.

Council officials were forced to abandon the first consultation meeting at Mkoba Hall, which covers Mkoba South and postpone it to this coming Saturday after the few residents that attended said they were not informed on time to contribute meaningfully in the crucial discourse.

“We were not told on time that they were coming to Mkoba hall and in such a scenario, we feel the city fathers failed to properly follow the consultation process,” said Tafara Chikwita, a Mkoba 2 resident.

The Mkoba South meeting at Mkoba 16 council offices was also a flop after residents questioned the legality of the commission running the affairs at the local authority.

The Wednesday meeting at Ingwe Hall in Senga was also not successful with residents accusing city fathers of attempting to impose the budget on them.

The consultation meetings were expected to start on Tuesday and end this Thursday in different parts of the city.

The commission, which was appointed by Local Government minister, Saviour Kasukuwere last August, had their term of office expiring in November last year. Kasukuwere however extended their term of office.

Since most of the MDC-T dominated councillors are still on suspension, the commission is moving around with three elected Zanu PF councillors and part of the management team in consulting residents.

Acting town clerk, Edgar Mwedzi confirmed the postponement of the meetings at Mkoba hall and Mkoba 16 council offices.

“Residents were of the view that they were not adequately notified of the consultations and we had to reschedule the meetings to this weekend,” Mwedzi later told RadioVOP.

 

The cash strapped local authority is proposing a 2017 “standstill” budget of $41m, with zero tariff increases in a bid to cushion residents from the harsh economic environment.