Residents walk out on budget

HARARE - Harare residents yesterday walked out of a budget consultative meeting with Harare City Council officials, claiming the city fathers do not take them seriously.

Dozens of representatives from various residents associations marched out of the meeting after they had been made to wait for council officials for close to an hour.

Simbarashe Moyo, chairperson of the Combined Harare Residents Association (Chra), said a budget advisory committee set up by council and residents, was not aware of the scheduled budget consultative meetings.

“Their actions are very worrying as now we do not know whether the advisory committee is working well with council or not. We have since asked council to furnish us (Chra) with a schedule of the proposed budget meetings and the facilitators, but they told us that the schedule had not been approved until now,” Moyo said.

The Chra chairperson complained that the inaugural meeting scheduled for Town House, had failed to take off while those in Dzivarasekwa and Arcadia meeting were already taking place.

“This was supposed to be the first meeting which would then cascade into the wards after we mapped the way forward but council is already meeting elsewhere while we are still waiting for them here,” he said.

Kazuwa Matsiwo, Community Water Alliance representative, highlighted that council was deliberately undermining residents by meeting residents while having already determined the outcome.

“Council is not taking the marriage between themselves and the residents with the importance that they should. Residents are the stakeholders but they are not being treated as such,” Matsiwo said.

Misheck Mubvumbi, HCC treasury director,  said those present in the meeting were not part of the advisory committee that was chosen at Mabvazuva in Harare during the first quarter of the year.

“The committee that met at Mabvazuva is the one that works directly with council on the budget issue. These people do not know that. No stakeholder is more important than the other,” he said.

Town clerk Tendai Mahachi said residents’ representatives that walked out of the meeting were just like any other grouping in other wards.

“Those that were here  are not part of the council budget advisory committee but like any other grouping,” Mahachi said.

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