KWEKWE – The tug of war between Kwekwe City Council and residents over the budget formulation process continued this week after stakeholders invited to discuss the city’s 2012 pre-budget meeting resisted moves to adopt it.
For the third year running, the local authority has failed to get buy-in of the $19,8 million revenue budget from locals who have rejected it as too high.
On December 16 last year at yet another budget consultation meeting, residents rejected the same budget, but council somehow managed to get it advertised and despite receiving a petition signed by over 300 residents, got the budget approved by the Local Government ministry.
On Wednesday, Mayor Shadreck Tobaiwa struggled to answer questions from residents who wanted to know why the local authority had stuck to a standstill budget for the past three years as if nothing had changed on the list of needs for Kwekwe City Council.
“We have rejected this budget for the past three years and you continue to force it on us. Your capital budget remains unchanged. Does it mean the local authority has not managed to achieve anything for the past three years? Have you not bought the cars, laptops and generators which were on the capital budget in the past two years?” asked Nyasha Majoni, a Kwekwe resident.
Residents and Ratepayers’ Development Association secretary-general Alex Homela told the consultative meeting that council was not sincere when consulting on the budget and always disregarded the views of the people to push their own agenda. He urged residents not to discuss a new budget before council explained what happened with the 2011 budget.
As the discussion became heated, Tobaiwa appealed for calm and assured residents he would have their views incorporated and that mistakes of the past would be corrected.