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Harare residents are faced with massive increases in rates and charges
Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA)
June 05, 2007

Yet again residents are facing massive increases in rates and charges imposed by the de facto authorities at Town House without consultation. Such increases will not be accompanied by any discernable improvement in service delivery. Indeed we can expect services to continue to decline.

Let us be very clear: contrary to the Herald report [appended below], there is no Council running the affairs of Harare. Instead there is an illegal Commission imposed by a partisan and illegitimate regime in an effort to deny citizens their democratic right to elect a Council headed by an Executive Mayor. Makwavarara and her fellow commissioners are nothing more than thieves feeding at the trough that continues to be filled by docile and fearful residents.

These increases therefore should be rejected with contempt, even if a case can be made for increases based on the horrendous inflation caused by the flawed policies of the Mugabe regime.

CHRA has petitioned the Judiciary to protect our rights. We have called on Parliament to uphold the laws they enacted. Neither has responded. We therefore feel justified in engaging in civil disobedience to assert our rights. Apart from demonstrations and local actions, the rates boycott is the main weapon at our disposal.

CHRA reiterates its call for responsible residents to refuse to pay any rates and charges until our rights are respected and a democratically elected Council is in place with a clear mandate to administer the city. CHRA will provide advice and legal support to all bona fide boycotters who are members of the Association and who register with us.

With the theft of our water system by ZINWA (yet another trough for patronage!), the Municipality can no longer use the threat of water disconnections to intimidate ratepayers and has no choice but to take legal action. The current use of private debt collection agencies is illegal and has no force in law. Any seizure of assets authorised by the courts for non-payment can only be carried out by the Master of the Courts. Residents who receive demands from debt collection agencies should immediately contact CHRA for advice and support.

We have no illusions that the rates boycott will cause the regime to correct its ways but at a minimum, boycotters can proudly claim that they are not funding the thieves who not only steal our money on a daily basis but who unleashed the crime against humanity known as Operation Murambatsvina.

Stop being a subject and become a citizen. Stand up for your rights! No taxation without representation!

Visit the CHRA fact sheet

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