Zimbabwe: Kwekwe Residents Force Budget Meeting Abandonment, Bay for Town Clerk's Blood

4 December 2019

The Kwekwe City Council was Tuesday forced to abandon a budget consultative meeting after angry residents protested the absence of Town Clerk Lucia Mkandla and the majority of sitting councillors they felt were not giving the process any priority.

This comes after the local authority has proposed a 233 percent tariff increase for 2020.

Residents told finance committee chair, Silas Mukaro that the meeting was not going to proceed without Mkandla in attendance.

"We cannot have a meeting without the presence of management, what we want are individuals who crafted this budget... ," a resident shouted during the event.

"You are the ones who employed management to be in those positions. So, you must not be used as appendages of certain individuals who have an agenda of duping residents."

Residents are demanding a comprehensive budget from the local authority.

"What we are seeing here is a council which has decided to take us for granted," said another resident.

"What we have are councillors who are used to pursue nefarious agendas for certain individuals.

"If we don't get satisfactory answers, we are going to demonstrate against this council."

Kwekwe has 14 councillors but only three were in attendance Tuesday.

Councillor Eric Rukavhairo denied the city fathers were being used by powerful individuals within the authority, adding, "We are able to think for ourselves and make decisions."

Kwekwe Residents and Rate Payers Association Secretary General Alex Homela said they were going to resist the "anti-poor" budget proposals.

"We are going to resist this budget," Homela said.

"We cannot have a budget in which council has effected a 233% tariff increase. That is an anti-poor budget.

"What is also worrying about this council is that it is deeply divided.

"Since the commencement of the budget consultations, we are having some councillors boycotting the process. That is not a healthy situation."

Kwekwe is proposing to increase refuse collection in high density suburbs from $9 to $30 whilst those in low density will be pay $35, up from $10.

Council is also proposing to hike sewer from $10 to $50 in high density areas.

On water, the charges will be raised from $4 to $20 in both urban and low-density areas.

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