KWEKWE — Residents are reportedly up in arms with the Local Government Ministry for approving the local authority’s $103 million budget for 2011 despite objections raised by the former.
Earlier this year, over 300 residents led by Kwekwe Residents and Ratepayers Development Association (KRRDA) petitioned town clerk Emmanuel Musara and officials in the Ministry of Local Government, Rural and Urban Development in protest against the budget.
They cited massive corruption at town house and lack of consultation in the budget formulation process as some of the reasons for their objection.
KRRDA secretary-general Alex Homela yesterday said his association had already engaged the ministry to establish why the budget was approved when residents had rejected it as provided for in the Urban Councils Act.
“We are not happy that the ministry approved a fraudulent budget. We want to know why the government which claims to protect the interests of residents would approve a budget overwhelmingly rejected by residents without putting corrective measures,” said Homela.
Council finance committee chairman Queenly Chitopo who recently openly challenged mayor Shadreck Tobaiwa and Musara for allegedly usurping her powers and altering budget figures without her consent, seemed to have taken a softer stance last week after she told council the budget was now operational.
The matter also sucked in Midlands provincial administrator Cecilia Chitiyo who last month recommended a commission of inquiry to investigate the allegations before approving the budget.
“The ministry is yet to respond to my request that a commission be set. Residents are genuinely worried about their finances and as government we have to act,” said Chitiyo.
Deputy minister Sesel Zvidzai said he was aware of the standoff, but said his ministry had to approve the budget to ensure service delivery was not affected.
“The standoff lasted for nearly half a month and for the ministry this was threatening service delivery, therefore we had to come in and approve that budget,” said Zvidzai.