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This article participates on the following special index pages:

  • Constitutional Amendment 18 of 2007 - Index of articles, opinion and anaylsis

  • Constitutional Amendment Number 18: A resident's perspective
    Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA)
    October 05, 2007

    Visit the special index of articles, analysis and opinion on Constitutional Amendment 18

    The Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) is a social movement with a growing membership composed of Harare residents and corporate members. The Association was established in 1999 to coordinate the initiatives of residents in demand for effective, democratic and accountable local governance and quality municipal service provision and effective social service delivery in the City of Harare.

    The Association is concerned with the continued piecemeal amendments of the constitution as opposed to holistic people driven constitution making process. It is against self serving constitutional amendments that do not guarantee effective local governance and electoral democracy. The recently passed constitutional amendment number 18 does not address the governance crisis and the highly polarized political environment. It serves to outstretch the national budget at a time when the nation should be focusing on cost recovery policies. The recent increase in the number of Parliamentary and Senatorial seats will further exacerbate the confusion in administrative boundaries and will increase government expenditure.

    The Association is wary of the privatization of the process to seek lasting solutions to the country's malaise. We demand the participation of civic society and the people of Zimbabwe in the making of the Constitution. While CHRA has been campaigning for the holding of Mayoral and Council elections in the City of Harare concurrently with the Parliamentary and Presidential elections, it maintains and still campaigns that the elections be held in a manner that is free and fair. The SADC community has drafted protocols on the holding of democratic elections. We urge the government to hold these elections in a manner that is consistent with these protocols. CHRA stands for the principle that constitutions must be made for the people and by the people themselves. In this regard we make the following demands:


    1. A people driven constitution making process as opposed to piecemeal constitutional amendments

    2. That local governance be a key tenet in the constitution of the land as is the case in South Africa. This will eliminate opportunities for manipulation expressed at party political interest. This will also provide an effective framework for the development of effective local governance systems in the Zimbabwe.

    3. Repeal of repressive and oppressive legislation like POSA and AIPPA that militate against freedoms of assembly and expression. These freedoms are fundamental towards the holding of free and fair elections and the citizen participation in matters of local governance.

    4. Reform of the Urban Councils Act (Chapter 29:15). The current form of the act gives too much power to the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and Urban Development to interfere into the affairs of local authorities. This has a negative impact on decision making and subsequently the quality of services provided by local authorities.

    5. Civic society be effectively consulted on all matters of national importance as they are the watchdogs of the people.

    Thus the Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) advocates for people driven constitution making processes as opposed to piecemeal constitutional amendments. It rejects Constitutional amendment number 18 as it does not address the institutional defects to guarantee democratic elections. Holistic people driven constitution making will allow residents to demand the constitutionalisation of local governance and the repeal of the Urban Councils Act (29:15). CHRA considers this as the initial process towards the reform and development of effective, transparent and accountable local governance. This will also improve the quality of municipal and other services provided by local authorities. Lastly, it is the institution's conviction that the resolution of the national crisis is the panacea to genuine local government reform.

    Visit the CHRA fact sheet

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