BULAWAYO councillors have succumbed to pressure from residents and have crafted a policy that compels them to declare personal assets and financial interests in the spirit of promoting transparency and curb corruption.
BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
This followed a campaign by the Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) in September 2018, calling on councillors to declare their assets in line with section 198 of the Constitution, which stipulates that senior public officials should declare their assets, income, assets and financial interest as a matter of principle.
Only two councillors Rodney Jele (ward 22) and Arnold Batirai (ward 24) declared their assets and interests in November last year.
Southern Eye heard that council has, however, since crafted the Asset and Liabilities Declaration Policy requiring that all councillors declare their assets.
The policy, among others, requires councillors to provide information regarding employment, personal details of spouses, names of dependants, financial statements, incomes (including income from investments, salaries and emoluments), assets (including but not limited to land, buildings, vehicles and financial obligations owed to councillors) and the value of those assets.
Bulawayo mayor Solomon Mguni confirmed the development saying the policy was still being “fine-tuned”.
“It has been discussed by the general purposes committee, but not yet brought to full council. Councillors felt that there is need for some modifications. It is still work in progress, and we hope that by next month the policy would have been fine-tuned and adopted,” Mguni told Southern Eye yesterday.
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BPRA co-ordinator Emmanuel Ndlovu said the residents grouping was pleased that council had finally yielded to its calls for assets disclosure by councillors to help arrest rampant corruption involving public officials.
“BPRA applauds BCC for coming up with a policy that makes it mandatory for councillors to declare their assets, sources of income, liabilities and conflict of interest. This policy will go a long way in curbing corruption and promoting accountability,” Ndlovu said.
“It is the contention of BPRA that while futility in the fight against corruption has bred some form of acceptance, ordinary residents are, however, not prepared to normalise corruption.”
At one time, the BPRA proposed a local authorities anti-corruption framework, which dovetailed some principles around anti-corruption with a policy to do with declaration of assets and sources of income as viable options for reducing opportunities for corruption among elected officials.