GWERU: In what seemed to be the most embarrassing moment recently, Mkoba Hall was almost empty with about seven people consisting of City of Gweru (GCC) officials as residents gave a deaf ear to a feedback meeting called for by Ward 9 Councillor Edson Kurebgaseka.
Even though local youths blamed low attendance to late calls for engagements, local leadership believes that communities have grown tendencies of complaining over underdevelopment whereas they do not take part in processes that facilitate for the needed development.
“I always ask in many engagements, how many residents go for budget meetings and recently out of 50 church leaders, a hand full raised their hands. How then do we contribute to community development when we are so ignorant of key engagements with duty bearers,” bemoaned acting Gweru District Development Coordinator in a recent public address.
“We remain politically aligned when we should act otherwise after elections. Once public officials are elected, they are here to save us all regardless of their political following but you hear some residents saying we do not attend this and that meeting because it is being addressed by who and who from this political party. We should desist from that as it distracts efforts for participatory development in our communities,” Gweru Urban MP Brian Dube is also quoted to have said in another public forum.
At this point residents are on the spotlight for continuously blaming duty bearers for non consultation yet they do not attend meetings.
Cllr Kurebgaseka however said it was wrong for the general populace to be driven by stipends versus passion to contribute towards community development.
“Recently, I was here at Mkoba Hall with World Food Program (WFP) and almost 175 women attended because they were given rabbits to domesticate, but today just a few came.
“On the other hand, politicization of these meetings is disturbing progress in communities. People should desist from such,” he said.
Senior citizens who were the majority of attendees said it should be important for the youth as it seems to them to gather and follow community development issues.
“As a ratepayer it is my duty to attend ward development meetings. What happened today is shameful though as people decided to sabotage this meeting. How then do we demand accountability when we do not attend meetings meant for us ,” an elderly Samson Samba said.
“Residents were supposed to come so that they could share their challenges on service delivery but they did not show up. I am now disadvantaged because I failed to get the platform to share my concerns with leadership. It’s bad!” another senior citizen present, Kudakwashe Totama said.