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Zanu PF local leadership threatens CHRA Mbare office with closure
Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA)
February 14, 2006

ZANU PF militia on Thursday 8 February approached the leadership at the St Michael's Anglican Church at Runyararo House where CHRA satellite office is currently housed and threatened to destroy property and target individuals if the office continued operating.

The Church leadership has thus given CHRA up to Friday 16 February 2007 to wind up operations and vacate the offices. This comes hardly a month after CHRA members were abducted for six hours and tortured by ZANU PF thugs at their Harare provincial office at Fourth Street in the City center, while distributing fliers inviting residents to a public meeting.

Activities at the Mbare office have been threatened by this incident. This development follows a public meeting that was impressively attended by over 1000 residents in Mbare who had made resolutions and action plans on solving the challenges facing residents. Incidentally the Harare Provincial Administrator was reported by residents to have been buying people opaque beer (scuds) at Marengenya bar, which is barely a kilometre from the CHRA office. A ZANU PF meeting was held on Saturday 10 February where the CHRA Mbare office activities were discussed and made a resolution that the office should be closed following this event. Residents in Mbare made the following resolutions:

  • Elections: Demand the holding of free and fair Mayoral and Council elections as a matter of urgency.
  • Petition: Petition the Minister of Local Government and Urban Development Dr Ignatius Morgan Chiminya Chombo on the challenges facing Mbare residents and make demands. They had set a target of 5000 signatures to accompany the petition. The petition will be copied to ZINWA, Government Ministries and the Commission running the City of Harare.
  • Peaceful marches: Residents in Mbare had threatened that in the event that the Minister of Local Government and Urban Development does not respond in two weeks to the issues raised they will take to the streets.
  • Clean-up campaigns: The committees representing Mbare wards 3,4,11and 12 had set the 28th of February as the initial date for the clean-up process. This would be followed up every week. Partnerships have already been developed with other Civic Society Organizations that will provide cleaning materials and vehicles to carry the refuse.
  • Public meetings: Residents resolved to hold regular meetings as a platform for sharing ideas on how to solve their problems and monitor the implementation and progress of their activities.
  • Humanitarian assistance: Residents in Mbare had called upon CHRA to link up with other Civic Society Organizations and source food and humanitarian assistance in response to the crisis faced by residents. CHRA estimates that over 200 000 residents in Mbare are in urgent need of food assistance as most of them lost means of sustainable livelihoods due to Operation Murambatsvina.

CHRA views this interference as a direct response to the impact of the work of the Association in Mbare. The Association has recorded 1145 new members in Mbare since the office was opened in December last year. Most residents were excited about CHRA activities and had vowed to find lasting solutions to the crisis they are facing. The Association would like to assure residents and Civic partners that CHRA will not be deterred by this interference buy will use it to further mobilize the marginalized community of Mbare. Activities will continue as CHRA finds a new office to coordinate its action plans. CHRA is concerned with the continued harassment and interference from ZANU PF into Civic Society issues. The Association would like to reinforce that it is a non-partisan and does not deal with party political issues. The regime is timid and is now afraid of its own people. It will use violence and any tactics to suppress residents' voices demanding change. CHRA is committed to defending residents and advocating for effective, accountable and transparent local governance.

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