Byo fights over devolution funds

Source: Byo fights over devolution funds | The Chronicle October 3, 2019

Byo fights over devolution funds

Pamela Shumba, Senior Reporter

BULAWAYO councillors yesterday called for the suspension of Cowdray Park projects after the local authority’s management channelled all devolution funds to the suburb.

During the full council meeting yesterday, MDC-Alliance councillors said while they appreciate that Ward 28, covering Cowdray Park was the biggest and the least developed in the city, it was unfair for all devolution funds amounting to more than $1,1 million to be channelled to the ward.

According to the latest council minutes, the Director of Housing and Community Services reported last month that the department was seeking to use devolution funds for Cowdray Park projects.

The funds were requested to buy materials for Vulindlela Primary and Sizalendaba Secondary Schools in Cowdray Park after budgeted funds were exhausted due to inflation.

Councillors said the development was a political statement to make it seem as if they were doing nothing in their wards while Ward 28 councillor Kidwell Mujuru, who is the only Zanu-PF councillor was working.

“As for devolution funds we expect them to be disbursed equally among all wards. It’s not fair for the funds to be channelled to one ward yet we have 29 wards in the city.

“Maybe other councillors are happy with the arrangement but personally I’m not happy at all. Residents want to see progress in our wards and we have outstanding projects that need funding,” said Ward 22 Councillor Rodney Jele.

Ward 4 Councillor Silas Chigora concurred. “We appreciate the fact that Cowdray Park is a big suburb and is lagging behind in terms of development but to give the ward all the money is unfair. It already has council schools unlike other wards and as we speak there are a number of projects going on in Cowdray Park, which include the construction of a clinic, school, bridge and road rehabilitation.

“Let’s have two projects running in Cowdray Park and at least one in each of the remaining wards. That way we have development in the whole city,” said Cllr Chigora.

He said his ward has no clinic, which is an important facility for the people in the area.

Ward 19 Councillor Alderman Clayton Zana accused council management of bypassing councillors in the disbursement of the devolution funds.

“Councillors should have received a report that devolution funds have been availed so that we take part in deciding how that money should be spent. We should have a say.

“It’s unfair to prioritise Cowdray Park when most projects were put on hold because of lack of funds. Let’s complete projects we have already started before moving to new ones,” said Cllr Zana.

Cllr Mujuru supported the decision by council management saying Cowdray Park was the least developed area in the city.

“I’m actually thankful to council management. Cowdray Park is the least developed ward in the city and it deserves to be funded so that it has adequate social facilities to cater for residents.

“There is no clinic in the ward and children in Cowdray Park are walking long distances to school,” said Cllr Mujuru.  — @pamelashumba1.