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City council of Harare gets a rude awakening from disgruntled residents
November 06, 2012
The Harare City
Council was left shaken yesterday after plus 200 residents stormed
the building demanding that the Mayor and his council scrap all
debt accumulated to end of the 2010, and ensure that water is made
available to all residents, without any limits.
followed a false start to the process of negotiations between the
residents and the City of Harare, which has continued to hoodwink
residents that they are serious about resolving their issues. Efforts
by HRT officials to engage the City treasury on these issues of
collapsed service provision and debt cancellation have yielded negative
results. Focus group discussions, public meetings were held, consistent
with the HRT's policy of engagement but this has not helped
the communities much.
attitude by Harare City Council of turning a deaf ear to the concerns
of the residents has resulted in legitimate anger mounting within
communities, and on Tuesday 6 November 2012, the seams burst and
residents gathered for a peaceful protest, marking a new season
of lobbying and advocacy within the HRT.
anger is primarily driven by the arrogant manner in which the City
of Harare has issues letters of final demands, and summons, a clear
attempt on the part of the local authority to provoke residents
and cow them into submission, and settle illegally accumulated outstanding
debts. The city has threatened property attachments for debts accumulated
from estimated bills and unrendered water and refuse collection
services. During the HRT's consultative meetings, the residents
were clear that they wanted the council to bill them for rendered
services and not solely rely on estimated billing which short-changed
It is against
this background that suburbs like Mabvuku, Highfield and Glen Norah
mooted the idea of holding a demonstration against City of Harare
for non compliance in cancellation of debt accrued from February
2009 to December 2010 where services from City of Harare were non-existent
in their areas. Residents from other suburbs concurred with the
three suburbs and willingly participated in the Town House demonstration,
which had the participation of residents from Mbare, Tafara, Kuwadzana
Phase 3, Rugare, Waterfalls, Mufakose, Highfield, Dzivarasekwa 3,
Crowborough, Glen Norah and Mabvuku, among others.
During the demonstration,
which the police were informed about, the HRT Director Mr Precious
Shumba addressed the residents in front of Town House, explaining
that the HRT will no longer contain the anger of residents and the
council had to genuinely engage and attend to their demands for
debt cancellation and urgently improve water delivery to their households.
He then handed over a petition signed by 3 000 residents from across
demonstration is symbolic by nature, and marks a change in the approaches
of the HRT where residents' grievances are concerned,"
Shumba said. "The people who continue to earn monthly salaries
on the sweat and blood of residents are not thinking of submitting
themselves to the supreme authority of residents of Harare. Services
have collapsed, and life remains extremely painful for most residents
in Harare. From today on, be warned that residents will gather in
their thousands, especially towards month-end at community District
Offices, until the council has responded to the demands of residents."
Deputy Mayor Chiroto, who received the HRT petition on behalf of
the Mayor, who is away, said residents had a right to quality services,
and it was indeed a collective responsibility to ensure a better
life for all people.
we are receiving your petition," he said. "We are going
to read through it and adequately respond to residents' grievances.
We are going to have a meeting with the Mayor, the Town Clerk and
residents' representatives so that we discuss and find a common
position that will be beneficial to everyone at the end of the day."
songs of encouragement, displaying placards with various service
delivery messages some that read as follows: Tired of drinking sewerage
water! Bvisai zvikwereti kubva February 2009 kusvika December 2010!
No to Interest! Reduce Salaries for management! Taneta nemasamanisi
and tired of chaotic billing system! among others. The suburban
leaders took turns to share their communities' struggles.
Mabvuku residents are bitter that parts of the suburb have not received
any water for more than six years to date yet they are receiving
final demands and summons, as a result of the City of Harare's
the demonstrators said the City of Harare had until 30 November
2012 to resolve the residents' grievances, failure of which
residents will select dates to gather at community District Offices
where council revenue is paid, and transmitted to Rowan Martin Building,
the City Treasury headquarters. If councillors fail to resolve this
matter, residents vowed to disrupt council full council meetings,
because the councillors cannot ignore residents' issues. They
came from the residents.
Visit the Harare
Residents' Trust fact
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