CHIREDZI - Chiredzi residents have applauded the town council for embarking on a budget consultation programme which will see the town's budget being taken to residents, a first for a town which is known for opaque financial processes and allegations of corruption.
Poor service delivery and lack of accountability came to a hilt this year after revelations that some councillors owned dozens of residential stands in a town where thousands of people are on the waiting list.
Speaking during a consultative meeting held at the town council offices recently, Chiredzi Town Council Secretary, Charles Muchatukwa said they have chosen to take the budget to the people so as to gather as many views as possible on the concerns of the people.
"This year we are going to have as many budget consultation meetings as possible so that we can include everything in the 2017 budget. We have started early so that every resident can participate in the budget consultations," said Muchatukwa.
United Chiredzi Residents and Ratepayers Association (UCHRRA) Secretary General, Bernard Dachi applauded council's decision as a step forward but stressed the process must not merely be a formality but the views gathered be used to direct council policy.
"For years, we have been advising the council to follow laid down procedures from local government when crafting policy but they have been ignoring us. We thank God they have finally seen sense in what we have been saying all along," Dachi said.
He however warned council against trying to use the exercise to lobby for support and hoodwink residents and impose its will, saying consultations must exactly be that: consultations.
One resident also told TellZim News that if properly implemented, the programme would be a good platform on which both council and residents will be able to make contributions that will improve service delivery and development.
"I am very grateful for what the council is doing. For a long time, they crafted their budgets on their own without consulting residents but they have now given us some power to identify issues which are affecting us," the resident said.
The consultative meetings are already underway and residents are meeting with council officials at ward level.news