Monday, 25 May 2020

NEW iPADS AND DATA BUNDLES : HRE COUNCILLORS CAN'T HOLD VIRTUAL MEETINGS


HARARE councillors are failing to convene monthly full council meetings during lockdown despite having high-end Ipads, favourable to conduct virtual meetings.

A full council meeting is the highest decision-making body for local authorities where resolutions on by-laws or policies are crafted, implying Harare has not made such since the lockdown started.

The city’s chamber has limited space, making it unsuitable for councillors and management to physically meet in this Covid-19 era.

Council splashed about US$23 000 on Ipads, while councillors get an allowance for data bundles.

If the local authority insists on physical meetings, it has halls, huge enough to conduct its full council meetings, with social distance being maintained.

Elsewhere, councils including Bulawayo and Masvingo have been conducting their full council meetings.

Parliament with huge numbers has since sought an alternative venue, Harare International Conference Centre where legislators are deliberating issues.

Harare town clerk Engineer Hosiah Chisango said they had put full council meetings on hold due to space challenges.

“Our current set up in the council chamber cannot accommodate all full council members, but we have the capacity to do so if we only invite a quorum from councillors side.

“We have scheduled one full council meeting for next week (this week) were a councillors quorum will come, but they have to decide among themselves in terms of who comes,” he said.

On conducting virtual meetings, Eng Chisango said they had started a pilot project as management to assess the feasibility of the programme. He hinted that council had other suitable venues like halls which can be used to conduct full council meetings.

Harare Residents Trust (HRT) director Mr Precious Shumba yesterday said full council meetings indeed present policymakers with an opportunity to make policy decisions and by-laws for the local authorities.

“All decisions of the city of Harare must be made with the full involvement of the elected councillors,” he said. Herald

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