Senator challenges councillors to monitor devolution funds

Bulawayo senator, Molly Mpofu, has challenged aspiring Bulawayo councillors to monitor devolution funds once elected into office next month.

According to the constitution, at least five percent of the national budget should be allocated to local authorities as part of promoting the devolution agenda.

Finance and Economic Development Minister, Mthuli Ncube set aside ZWL$19.5 billion and ZWL$42 billion for devolution in 2021 and this year respectively.

Zimbabwe will on March 26 hold by-elections to fill vacant local authority and parliamentary seats.

Bulawayo has seven vacant council and two parliamentary seats which will be contested by different political parties.

Speaking to CITE on the side-lines of an election debate for aspiring Ward18 candidates in Magwegwe Thursday, organised by the Centre for Innovation and Technology (CITE) and the Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA), Mpofu challenged all council candidates to keep a close eye on devolution funds distributed to Bulawayo by the government.

“Our expectation is that the incoming councillors have to monitor devolution funds allocated by the President with the aim of developing areas,” said Mpofu.

“It looks like here in Bulawayo such funds are not properly monitored. We are not seeing any change. But when you go to other areas, in other provinces you can see and tell what has been done using devolution funds. You can see that a clinic has been built, this and that has been done.”

She reiterated that the purpose of that money is to develop all areas across the country.

“The President has said each and every province should have a grader,” she said.

“Some of our roads which are not tarred should have long been graded just to show what we have been given. Bulawayo is an old city. Can’t that devolution fund be used to upgrade our sewer system so that things can change because this is an old city?”

She added: “The city keeps growing but sewer systems have not been upgraded. We realise that the President has brought water from Mat North but water is still being closed in Bulawayo, people do not have water in their houses but pipes were commissioned. The council has not explained to us why water is being closed and why we are suffering like this. Those are some of the things that councillors should focus on.”

ZANU-PF and ZAPU Ward 18 candidates, Enock Madzimure and Gibson Sibanda respectively, were part of the debate and both promised to spearhead service delivery once voted into office.

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