WARD 41 Councillor Kudzai Kadzombe has requested residents of the area to advise her if they are willing to participate in the budget consultation meeting for the ward given last year they boycotted the process and also rejected the 2022 budget crafted by the City of Harare.
Cllr Kadzombe told the residents she had requested that the City of Harare provides all the information requested by residents of the area last year in order for them to make meaningful contributions at the ward’s budget consultative meeting but needed the residents to advise her if the ward should go ahead with the meeting.
In a notice to residents, Cllr Kadzombe said she had through the City of Harare’s Mr Jackson Murimi from the Chamber Secretary’s Office requested that the municipality should provide all the information requested by residents.
Last year, Ward 41 residents boycotted the budget consultative meeting arguing that the municipality was not forthcoming with the necessary information and was bent on just a cosmetic process to be seen to be in compliance with local government laws and regulations.
“City of Harare has started doing 2023 budget consultations and I have notified the budgets committee through Mr Murimi that they need to first avail information that Ward 41 residents requested last year such as budget allocations for our ward in the previous budgets, ward 41 expenditure report etc. as Ward 41 residents felt that the whole process was not sincere and was just to rubber stamp and tick off procedures in the budget process without seriously inputting the contributions from residents. Please let me know if you have a different view and would like us to go ahead with the budget consultations,” read Cllr’s Kadzombe’s notice.
After boycotting the budget meeting last year, Ward 41 residents went on to reject council’s ZWL$41,8 billion budget for 2022. The residents petitioned council to lower the rates and service charges increases because they were not in line with the rate of inflation prevailing at that time.
Ward 41 is made up of Marlborough, Westgate, Bluff Hill, Area D, Avonlea, Goodhope, Willow Creek, Emerald Hill, Ashbrittle, New Adylin, the Red Roofs and Tynwald North.
The residents contended that some suburbs in the ward had been slapped with a more than 400 percent increase and these include Avonlea, Bluff Hill and Westgate.
“The combined residents of ward 41 encompassing the following areas Ashbrittle, Emerald Hill, Avonlea, Bluff Hill, AreaD, Goodhope, Willow Creek, Tynwald North, Westgate, New Adylin, Marlborough and Redroofs of approximately 24 000 residents, have raised an objection to the recently proposed City of Harare Budget tariffs for the year 2022, based on the justification that the rates are beyond the reach of many and are not in line with the prevailing inflation rates,” read part of the petition.
Earlier Ward 41 residents had discouraged each other against boycotting the City of Harare’s pre-budget meetings. Some residents had urged fellow ratepayers to boycott the virtual meeting because City of Harare officials were not providing them with relevant and adequate information to help them make meaningful contributions during the pre-budget process.
But other ratepayers warned against taking such a stance as they risked missing out on an opportunity to make their position known to the municipality regarding issues affecting Ward 41.
Cllr Kadzombe told fellow ratepayers that the budget meeting was a crucial process and residents needed to participate. She said if residents chose to ignore the process they should not complain over non service delivery.
“If you choose silence then there should be no complaints when you have no service delivery. I totally disagree with that school of thought, these budget processes are key for us to plan, implement and review performance of service delivery in our ward. (the) rainy season is coming we need street lights, consistent refuse collection, we are also approaching October and normally water supplies dwindle we need to make sure at ward level our issues are covered in the budget. All suburbs should be represented in here and we help each other build our community.
I am glad with the level of participation of residents in the group if we own the processes, we will yield the fruits,” she said last year.
However, some residents felt that even after participating in the budget process nothing seemed to change as their input was not taken on board.