Epworth Women Reject the 2022 COuncil Budget.

Pauline Chateuka

Promoting equal participation in council and national budget is one of the main objectives for Community Radio Harare’s ongoing program on promoting women’s participation in local governance and developmental issues. Hence, gender budgeting is important and builds on good governance, it increases equal participation in the budgeting process.

Through the project women in Epworth were encouraged to attend, participate and contribute during a community live chat that was hosted by CORAH.

After CORAH’s confidence-building training women in Epworth managed to attend the Ward 7 budget consultation meeting in October 2021 with Councilor Muzamindo. Women gave their contributions towards the proposed budget that the local leader presented during the live chat.

During the consultation meeting, the women raised a lot of issues that included selective stakeholders invitations to the budget consultation meetings over the years, residents also complained that the total budget capital requirement figures were never presented to them.
Another issue was the unavailability of financial report-especially previous budget income-expenditure analysis, and review, lack of service delivery for some of the budgeted tariffs eg water, refuse removal, no sewage reticulation, non-accountability of the newly regularized stands ie parts of Wards 4,5,6 and 7, and non-submission of council accounts to the Auditor General for the past 10years as required by law.

ln an interview with CORAH, the women said they have rejected the budget until the local board addresses the above-mentioned issues.

“We are grateful to CORAH for building the confidence-building and empowerment training now we are fully aware that as women we should contribute to council budgets and make sure that our issues are incorporated. We do not recognize this budget because it does not have a 15% health allocation hence leading to all the challenges we are facing at the maternal services department” said one Chihera, a resident from Epworth.

“As women we want our local board to be accountable they cant just raise rates without service delivery. As residents we are rejecting that budget” said Cecilia Chingandu another resident from the community.

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