Bulawayo residents bring ministers to account

Hundreds of Bulawayo residents packed the Large City Hall on Sunday to interact with several cabinet ministers in the coalition government, who are also based in the city.

The Social Accountability Conference, hosted by the Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA), gave residents the chance to hear Education Minister David Coltart, Waters Resources Minister Sam Sipepa Nkomo and State Enterprises Minister Gorden Moyo, among others.

Speaking to SW Radio Africa on Tuesday, Rodrick Fayayo the coordinator of the BPRA, said the conference provided a useful opportunity for residents to seek clarification on various government policies. Additionally it provided the association with a platform to lobby ministers on issues affecting their members. He said the initiative was all about promoting local democracy and they believed leaders must be accountable to the electorate.

For example residents asked Moyo about the growing number of military people in the parastatals under his ministry. The MDC-T minister said when he took the position the generals were already in place and it was proving difficult to remove them. He said they were pushing for reforms, to block situations where one person sits on several boards, as was the case with most of the retired military personnel.

Coltart on the other hand was asked to explain his ministrys policy on incentives for teachers. He said the incentives scheme, where parents pay teachers a supplementary allowance, was necessary to avoid a situation where teachers go on strike. The scheme has been criticized for dividing teachers in schools which have incentives and those that do not.

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