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Local government media content update: Issue 2
Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA)
August 01, 2011

In this issue of the Municipal Monitor, we take a glimpse at Local Government stories as they came out in the print and electronic media for the past one and a half weeks.

General Comment

The Association would like to applaud the Daily news and the Newsday for continued coverage on issues of local governance. The two papers have been in the forefront in exposing the rot in our local authorities. CHRA is concerned with the continued threat to fire elected councilors by the Minister of Local Government, Rural and Urban Development. The Minister continues to abuse provisions in the Urban Councils Act to fire elected councilors. The Association urges the Portfolio Committee on Local Government to hasten review and reform of this Act. CHRA submitted a paper to COPAC that deals with the "Local Government we want" which should address the issue of constitutionalisation of local governance in Zimbabwe.

Chombo vows to continue firing elected councilors
ZBC news bulletin (01-08-2011)

Minister I. Chombo has vowed to continue invoking sections in the Urban Councils Act [29:13] against all corrupt Councilors. The statement issued by the Minister came in response to the statement released by ECAZ in the dailynews which condemned the illegal accumulation of land which was being done by the Minister. The Urban Councils Act gives excessive powers to the Minister making our local Government system unresponsive because of centralization of power.

Open letter to Minister Chombo
Daily News (01-08-2011)

Elected Councilors Association of Zimbabwe wrote an open letter to the Minister of Local Government Rural and Urban Development demanding that he disclose how he got his land which he has. ECAZ, openly challenged the Minister to stop propagating corruption through distributing public land to his close friends and relatives ahead of the poor citizenry. Chombo was called upon to account on how much he had paid so far in taxes. The Councilors attacked the Zimbabwe Local Government Association (ZILGA) saying that it was a puppet of Chombo and it has never stood for development other than serve the interests of the Minister of Local Government.

Residents won't be blindfolded
Daily News on Sunday (31-07-2011)

CHRA wrote to the press exposing the hypocrisy that was exhibited by Tendai Savanhu a former Commissioner in the City of Harare who blamed the collapse of service delivery on current elected councilors. CHRA opposed the statements made by Savanhu adding that it was actually the caretaker commissions that were appointed by Minister Chombo who where responsible for the collapse of service delivery not the other way round. The Makwavarara Commission has been implicated in the land audit report that saw some Harare Councilors being fired by the Minister. CHRA called upon Savanhu to openly declare his assets and cede some of the many houses he has to the urban poor so that those that do not have houses can benefit from rich people like him.

Residents praise City for improved service delivery
NewsDay (25-07-2011)

CHRA applauded City of Harare for a general improvement in service delivery. In this article, residents sighted areas where services had improved and areas that need attention. The article acknowledged the resurfacing of 4th street between Josiah Tongogara and Herbert Chitepo and that it should be used as a benchmark in servicing all the roads in Harare to reduce road carnage. Water delivery service needs improvement in areas of Mandara, Greendale, Tafara-Mabvuku and parts of Malberein. CHRA urged the C.O.H. to timeously inform residents when they intend to effect water cuts.

Curtail reckless accumulation of City properties
Daily News (23-07-2011)

CHRA wrote to the dailynews expressing its concern over the amount of stands, which Phillip Chiyangwa a well known property magnet owns. In this article, CHRA took a swipe at some of the land Chiyangwa has, exposing the illegal transactions that were done at the expense of the suffering and homeless public. Chiyangwa took advantage of the economic situation which had gripped the nation and went on a land accumulation spree exchanging land with vehicles most of which have run down to date. The land swap of stand number 389 Derbyshire and stand number 19345 belonging to the City of Harare are a case in point which exposed the corruption that was practiced.

Council should investigate its management
The Herald

The Chief fire officer of the City of Harare came under fire from an anonymous resident who wrote to the press indicating that he (Chief fire officer) was promoting non performing staff. He lamented that there are no qualified doctors in the ambulance and fire department. The shortage of proper fire machines and ambulances has exacerbated death-rates in the event of accidents. The response rate of the ambulance and the fire brigade is also a cause of concern, prompting more private players who charge exorbitant fees for these services to come into play.

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