On 2nd of November 2021, CoM maiden 2022 budget consultations meeting at Mutare Hal was conducted. The highly anticipated meeting was chaired by Mr Edson Dube from UMRRT. Other members of the committee present were, Mr Mutambirwa MRRA, Mr Kariparire MITA, Mr Chafesuka Mutare City Finance Director.
Observation from the meeting
1) The panel was male dominated with the absence of females.
2) No youth, women and PWD representation
3) No sign language interpreter
4)The Chairperson was defending the committee yet taking sides instead of listening to residents submissions
5) The majority of participants were bused from the present Residents Association
6) The FD lied to the residents that $500 000USD was used to procure requisite material for the Dangamvura water works yet their Newsletter edition of 2021 categorically states that $450 000 was mobilized
6) The jargon used in deciphering the budget was not user friendly to such an extent that in laymans terms the ordinary resident from Maonde can not understand anything.
7) The Newsletter was also suppossed to be written in both English and Shona so that the residents have a proper understanding of the changes in service delivery.
8) The Budget Committee should desist from acting as a buffer that protects the interests of Mutare City Council. Rather is should be there to facilitate a fluid communication between Council and its residents and ratepayers. It’s unfortunate that the Budget Committee is composed of persons with vested interests in the affairs of Council. With that in mind, there is bound to be conflict of interest when the committee is conducting its business.
9) Going forward, Council should avail material in print for those who have no access and knowledge to its ChatBot so that residents know in advance issues that are supposed to be deliberated. The ChatBot, whilst being innovative, should not substitute traditional methods of communication but rather compliment.
10) Pertaining to consultation dates and venues, Council should improve on its communication strategy since many people are not even aware of the schedule. Where there is communication, there is transparency and Community buy-in.
Let the people speak out freely!