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This article participates on the following special index pages:
Constitutional Amendment 18 of 2007 - Index of articles, opinion and anaylsis
Amendment Number 18: A resident's perspective
Residents Association (CHRA)
October 05, 2007
the special index of articles, analysis and opinion on Constitutional
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
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
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.
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