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Crisis Report - Issue 228
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition
October 10, 2013

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Bulawayo speaks out ahead of council budget consultations

Civic leaders based in the city of Bulawayo have advised on funding priorities for the city council ahead of its budget consultations earmarked for the week beginning on Monday, October 14. Speaking ahead of the consultations, the civic leaders said the Council authorities had to consider a number of priorities both in terms of the manner the forthcoming consultations should be carried out and the sectors to be funded in the next budget.

Debra Mabunda, the director of Radio Dialogue said Bulawayo should look at water provision as one of the areas of major focus, while she also said it was important to fund refuse collection, health and road maintenance.

“We are likely to be calling on them to prioritise water,” Mabunda said. “That is the biggest crisis at the moment. We are also concerned about health, particularly with city council clinics. “I hope that they will also look at the roads, particularly the demarcations, they are hardly visible at night.”

Mmeli Dube, a civic leader in the city said council should now consider budgeting in a way that looks at solving the water problems in the long haul.

“We don’t want a budget that is hanging,” Dube said. “We want a budget that is looking at the long term in terms of water.”

Dube said the council should also budget to keep the city clean, cover potholes on the roads which have become the “face of the city”, ensure general maintenance of infrastructure rather than waiting for it to break down, appreciate the need to maintain adequate street lighting and increase stalls for people selling wares.

“There are areas that are now dark and dangerous to people,” Dube said. “They also need to look at setting up new stalls for SMEs.”

Dube however, said that the City Council should improve its communication with residents so that they are aware of their responsibilities as consumers of services.

“The other issue they have to look at is public education,” Dube said. “Maybe the city council should have a newsletter for civic education, which also acts as their public relations face. The citizens should be aware of their responsibilities as consumers of the services of the city council such as that they should not waste water, or dump litter on the streets.”

Another civic leader in the city, Rodrick Fayayo, said the forthcoming consultations should not be approached half-heartedly, saying they “should be done not just because they should be done, but because it is the correct thing to do.”

“We expect council to mobilize a lot of people unlike in the past where 20 to 30 people attended,” Fayayo said. “The budget should be ward-specific apart from looking at things that affect the whole city.

“The budget should look at each and every ward because Bulawayo is not a homogeneous area. The people in the wards will then be interested in the consultations because they will know that it is relevant to them.”

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