Councillors in Bulawayo have yielded to pressure from residents to publicly declare their assets as a way of promoting accountability and transparency.
The Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) earlier this year petitioned the incoming councilors to publicly declare their assets.
First to respond to the petition was Ward 22 councilor, Roderick Jele, who Wednesday handed over a list of his assets to BPRA officials at Nkulumane Hall.
Jele told the residents that attended the meeting that he could not disclose his assets to residents as he was waiting for a directive from the party and city council.
“I cannot declare my assets to you today before the official launch which will be held on 8 December 2018,” said Jele
“For now I am declaring my assets to BPRA per their request and I am hoping that they will be discreet, for the time being.”
Jele said he was taking the lead to show that he was accountable to the residents who elected him into office.
“I am declaring my assets so that I can be held accountable, avoid corruption and mostly importantly to assure the public that I will faithfully fulfill my duties,” he said.
“ All I can say is that the process is voluntary and we are drafting a policy that will make it mandatory for all councilors to declare their assets.”
In an interview with CITE some residents expressed mixed feelings on the matter.
“I came here to witness Jele declaring his assets to us as residents but right now I feel let down,” said Luke Sibanda.
“These councilors are delaying the process especially those who were re-elected. They are slowing down the process so that they can at least acquire the papers of some the assets they acquired illegally”.
Another resident, Lawrence Tshuma, said the process should be done before or soon after the elections.
“Councilors should declare their assets before they are voted in or immediately after they are sworn in to avoid such long processes,” said Tshuma.
In the past some councilors have been fired after being found guilty of corruption.