In response to recent allegations of extravagant spending by Harare City Council councillors, the council has issued a statement clarifying the situation. The controversy arose after reports claimed that councillors had spent USD 20,000 in just four days. The council’s statement seeks to shed light on the expenditures and procedures involved.
According to the statement released by the Harare City Council, the 2023-2028 council members were sworn into office on August 23 following elections. In accordance with the Urban Councils Act, councillors are assigned to various committees, four of which are mandatory under Section 96 of the Act.
The council emphasized that before these committees can effectively carry out their duties, councillors must undergo induction workshops. These workshops are conducted by the relevant parent local government ministry. Harare City Council’s ten committees, including the Audit committee, Disaster management and public safety committee, and others, all go through these workshops to familiarize themselves with their respective roles and responsibilities.
Addressing the issue of allowances, the council asserted that all payments are made within the budgeted frameworks, ensuring transparency and accountability. Furthermore, the council clarified that committee meetings cannot be held until all committees have completed their induction.
Currently, only the finance and information and publicity committees have been fully inducted and have started conducting their meetings. The council pointed out that Harare, as the largest local authority in the country, bears significant responsibilities, and the induction of councillors is a crucial part of ensuring effective governance.
The council also raised concerns that the reported figures of USD 20,000 were greatly exaggerated and did not accurately reflect the actual cost of inducting councillors, who will serve until 2028.
Harare City Council has reassured the public that their operations are transparent and in line with legal requirements. This statement comes as a response to the recent controversy, aiming to provide clarity on the situation and dispel misconceptions surrounding the council’s actions.
As the largest local authority in the country, the Harare City Council remains under scrutiny, and this clarification seeks to restore confidence in its governance and financial practices.