Harare City Council is on a collision course with residents over the 2011 budget adopted by the city last year but which Harare residents have “overwhelmingly” rejected.
The city adopted the budget last year with a 40% increase in water charges.
The city gave residents on Monday as the deadline for airing their objections or approval of the budget. Only 30 signatures are required to have the council reconsider its budget proposals.
Harare Residents’ Trust chairperson Precious Shumba yesterday said close to 245 residents expressed their objections to the budget.
“We mobilised more than 245 residents who made their objections. By law, if only 30 residents object, the logical thing to do is to reduce the objected rates. They simply have to revise the figures,” he said.
However council spokesperson Leslie Gwindi said in his opinion no rate increases in the proposed budget warranted such objection.
Gwindi said it was not likely that the budget would be revised.
He said council made consultations and residents had made an input in the budget.
“It’s a maintenance budget and residents I am sure understand that,” Gwindi said.
Mbare Residents’ and Ratepayers’ Association, led by Chimurenga Choir lead vocalist Elizabeth Bwanya, has since threatened legal action to thwart the proposed Harare City Council budget.
Bwanya wrote to mayor Muchadeyi Masunda in December attacking the MDC-T- dominated council for failure to effectively consult the people at the grassroots.
The letter, which was copied to Local Government ministry and town clerk Tendai Mahachi, claimed the MDC-T councillors were turning a blind eye to the plight of residents, arguing that they were never consulted.
“Your Worship, we wish to advise you that we are fast losing our patience so much that we will be forced to turn to the law in order to have these budget proposals blocked through a legal process,” the letter read.
Yesterday Bwanya told NewsDay her association was racing against time and had sent a delegation to Town House and the Ministry of Local Government to make the city stop passing its budget as it was not “resident friendly”.
Bwanya complained there were no consultations between councillors and residents as meetings held were turned into “partisan political meetings”.