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Residents' Voices - Issue 38
Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA)
December 13, 2010

Residents face bleak festive holidays

Bulawayo residents have raised concerns that they will have a bleak Christmas holiday due to the prevailing high unemployment and poor remuneration of civil servants that make up the bulk of residents. Residents said that while conditions were better than they were in 2008 before the inception of the inclusive government, little progress has been made in terms of remuneration and availability of employment opportunities. They added that while other areas in the country were developing, companies in Bulawayo were scaling down or relocating altogether, leaving residents of Bulawayo with bleak job prospects. While Christmas, the world over, is a time for giving and sharing, partying and feasting, residents said this would not be possible as people simply do not have the means to host parties, cater for feasts and purchase gifts for their loved ones. They called on the inclusive government to take more steps towards creating job opportunities in Bulawayo and providing more loans for unemployed youths to start co-operatives and other money generating ventures.

Residents blast passport office

Service provision at the passport office has deteriorated further as endemic corruption at the public offices has scaled up. Bulawayo residents have complained that while passport fees were reduced to $50 a few months ago, the reality on the ground is that they are now more expensive to acquire. Residents said corruption in the offices was making it very expensive to acquire the documents. They said employees at the offices were taking advantage of the huge demand for passports to demand bribes from desperate residents. What has made things worse is that not only do residents have to bribe the workers to make their passport applications; they now also have to bribe them to skip the waiting list, and also to get a worker to locate the passport when it has eventually come out. Residents said this was a violation of the right to own a passport and demanded that the office of the registrar general urgently look into the issue. They proposed that investigations should be implemented and all workers found to be guilty of corruption dealt with accordingly.

Residents' views on elections

Residents have raised concerns that the plebiscite that could take place next year is ill-timed as Zimbabweans are not ready to vote but are more concerned about economic emancipation. They said that while the three parties in the Global Political Agreement (GPA) were not working as a unit, there was need for the current dispensation to continue until more gains were made, especially on the economic front. Residents also highlighted that there was need for more electoral reforms to take place before any elections are held. They raised concern that if elections are held next year, there could be violence similar to or even worse than that of 2008. They also said they fear that any election would lead to results that do not reflect the true wishes of the people of Zimbabwe as the elections are likely to be characterized by apathy. It has also been highlighted that the incumbent government should concentrate on developmental issues and economic recovery instead of focusing on elections.

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