'Councillors must declare assets'

BULAWAYO - Residents here have appealed to the City Fathers to ensure the incoming councillors declare assets and interests as a way of curbing corruption that has been synonymous with local authorities in the past.

Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) acting coordinator Emmanuel Ndlovu said registering of assets should be mandatory as it will help keep track on corrupt activities in the city among councillors.

“As you may already know, Bulawayo has been in the spotlight in the recent past for numerous reasons, predominantly rampant corruption, embezzlement of council funds, bribery, nepotism, misuse of council assets, selling of council assets like stands at concessionary prices as well as flouting of tender procedures,” Ndlovu said.

He said while efforts have been made to curb corruption, most of the responses from the powers-that-be have been reactionary and counterproductive.

“The situation therefore screams, not just for attention, but also action.”

Ndlovu added: “Against this foregoing and in line with Section 198 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe which stipulates that senior public officials should declare their assets, BPRA is calling upon you to declare your income, assets and financial interests as a matter of principle,” he said.

The residents’ representative organisation said once such a declaration is made, registers of interests should then be developed and be made publicly accessible.

“The registers of assets and interests should be updated annually and as and when changes in your assets occur and these shall be publicly accessible.

“BPRA believes that such a step shall be a game changer in the fight against corruption and that you can be Bulawayo’s number one anti-corruption champion,” he said.

Ndlovu further noted that the declaration of assets and interests is not a new practice as these have been successfully implemented in such countries as South Africa and Rwanda.

BPRA, however, said it is willing to second its expertise to help council develop and maintain such a register.

Council business in Bulawayo is yet to begin as there appears to be bickering over who should be elected mayor and deputy of the city.

This comes after the first special council meeting slated for Tuesday which was meant to elect the mayor had to be postponed to yesterday after the council realised late that its decision to relocate the meeting from council chambers to the Large City Hall was illegal.

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