By Staff Reporter
KWEKWE mayor Angeline Kasipo and her deputy Shadreck Tobaiwa recently clashed bitterly over the adoption of the city’s $26, 9 million 2019 budget.
Kasipo last week urged adoption of the budget after finance committee chairperson Silas Mukaro had told councillors that the city is proposing an increase in tariffs.
The deputy mayor however, slammed the fiscal plan as “non-inclusive, anti-poor and insensitive to suffering rate payers”.
“We have heard the reading of the budget proposal from the finance committee chairperson. I am therefore calling for the adoption of the budget,” Kasipo said.
The motion was seconded by councillors Sherly Mutirwara and Betty Ndlovu before Tobaiwa interjected.
“We will not just adopt this budget without the input of our various stakeholders. We must consult with every stakeholder in Kwekwe so that we will have an inclusive budget,” said the deputy mayor.
“My other worry is that residents were not fully consulted. We cannot say we had a consultation meeting when we had less than 20 people turning up for the budget.
“That is not a reflection of what the people of Kwekwe want in this budget.”
The former city mayor said the budget should be sensitive to the suffering rate payers.
“We must not transfer all our financial burdens to the rate payers. As councillors we must be creative and come up with ways of raising revenue.
“Residents just like this council is also suffering we must be sensitive. It is outrageous that we increase our tariffs by over 250 % in this economy. We must trim this budget.”
Kasipo then called for a private caucus with her councillors away from the media glare though she indicated that nothing was going to change.
“I want the members of the media to excuse us a bit as we want to caucus. I however, must point out that not much is going to change from this caucus as the budget has already been adopted,” she said.
Meanwhile, acting town clerk Lucia Mkandla called for a realistic, rather than populist budget.
“I understand that as councillors you are here on the people’s mandate. I however, want to point out that we must have a realistic budget not a populist one,” she said.
“At the end of the day, if we take a dangerous path of adopting a populist budget, we will not be able to deliver services.
“Our budget must respond to the economic climate. We therefore call for councillors to be of sober mind when approaching issues as we are no longer in the campaign period; it’s time to be realistic.”