Writes Clayton Masekesa
In a positive move that is aimed at promoting residents’ equal participation, the Mutare City Council has begun the 2024 budget consultations that are being carried out digitally and physically in both English and vernacular languages.
For the first time in Mutare, the consultations will be on digital platforms that include the Mutare City Council’s WhatsApp chat board, Google surveys, and WhatsApp groups for various relevant stakeholders.
The council has also crafted physical questionnaires distributed to various households, public centres, and council offices within the city.
In its affirmative quest that is aimed at upholding transparency and increased public accountability, the Mutare City Council is working with a budget committee that is monitoring the fiscal position of the city among other initiatives.
The budget committee, in its second year running, comprises representatives from the city’s wards, the business community, small to medium entrepreneurs, industries, people with disabilities, pastoral fraternity, and residents associations among others.
In an interview with this publication Monday, Mutare City Council Acting Town Clerk, Blessing Chafesuka, said the budget consultations were aimed at soliciting residents’ inputs and budget priorities for the year 2024.
“It is budget season. At law, our budgeting period started in July and it ends in October. We will be organizing a series of physical meetings when the environment is conducive for public gatherings. We call all the residents to make submissions through the digital platforms and questionnaires,” said Chafesuka.
“Budgeting is a process and this is part of it. We welcome the residents’ views and input. Budget submission is now statutory and we need to move with speed. My suggestion is please, the residents, fill in the forms that are being distributed and we are going to digitally analyze the submissions for the council to come up with a budget,” he said.
Residents groups and community-based organizations in Mutare have said the creation of the budget committee by the council will increase public accountability and enhance monitoring of the fiscal position of the city, as the committee will periodically review and provide policy guidance to budgetary analysis and fiscal action plans.