Members of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Local Government, Public Works and National Housing were left fuming after Bulawayo councillors snubbed a scheduled consultative meeting at the Council Chambers on Thursday.
28 councillors did not attend the meeting except for Ward 9 Councillor Donaldson Mabuto.
In a sideline interview with the media, the committee chairperson, Hon. Miriam Chikukwa, had no kind words for Bulawayo councillors saying they acted in an unbecoming manner, especially by people of authority who are supposed to address challenges faced by the residents.
Chikukwa added the committee would take up the councillors’ gesture with the relevant minister ( July Moyo) so that the issue may be addressed.
“What these councillors did was unexpected. They are leaders of the people and they were voted for so that they could articulate the resident’s issues on their behalf to the government.
“It’s not often enough that such opportunities come by. The fact that the Chamber Secretary (Sikhangele Zhou) mentioned that she reminded them just yesterday as they sat for their full council meeting makes this whole scenario even worse,” fumed Chikukwa.
“What happens is when we are in Parliament we work in unison with our local authority counterparts. When we hold such meetings we expect to have a full house and have a balanced discussion on issues affecting the people and the council. Now when we come here and find only one policy maker such efforts defeat the whole purpose.”
She said under such circumstances it becomes difficult for Parliamentarians to articulate issues affecting the local authorities because they would not be fully aware of what challenges people are seized with.
“It is quite annoying when we come down to the people and find the councillors are not taking us seriously. Residents in Bulawayo are facing serious water challenges, they have dilapidated roads, sanitation and even vendors are in need of decent places to sell their wares from but the councillors are not taking up this opportunity to discuss such with us.”Miriam Chikukwa, Chairperso of the Portfolio Committee on Local Governance.
Chikukwa added the portfolio committee was not on a fault finding mission but on a quest to make sure the government availed necessary resources to the people.