Residents body in anti - prepaid water meters lobby

The Combined Harare Residents’ Association (CHRA) has embarked on
door-to-door campaigns to canvass for residents’ support in rejecting prepaid water meters which Harare City Council mulls to install.

CHRA director Mfundo Mlilo said several other organisations had also joined residents in rejecting imposition of prepaid water meters.

“We are building a strong social base of organisations and platforms to reject the prepaid meter project,” Mlilo said.

“We have engaged our mayor Bernard Manyenyeni and the councillors on the negative impact and unsuitability of the prepaid meter project and have now started door-to-door campaigns to conscientise residents on why they should resist the prepaid meters.”

Other civic organisation groups that supported rejection of prepaid water meters included Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), Harare Metropolitan Residents’ Forum, the Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD), National Association of Youth Organisations, the Zimbabwe Young Women’s Network for Peace Building and the Zimbabwe United Residents’ Association.

Mlilo said engagement with the city council was beginning to bear fruit, adding CHRA was confident the local authority was taking a considerate approach on the issue.

ZCTU argued that relations in communities could be eroded if families ran out of water due to the proposed measures.

“Those people without resources may be forced to decrease their consumption of water and resort to untreated water. Trade-offs may also be difficult between water or food, medicine, school fees and other expenses, thereby exposing the most vulnerable to preventable diseases and mortality. There is bound to be a natural escalation of the cost of providing health services, resulting in the health sector (being) burdened due to waterborne diseases resulting from use of untreated water from other sources,” ZCTU said at a recent meeting on the possible impact of prepaid water meters.
The labour movement said workers would be the worst affected as the rich would be able to consume as much as they needed.

ZIMCODD further argued that the prepaid meters would pave the way for privatisation of water supply and undermine public health.

“They will reduce household consumption as they are generally expensive. They will increase conflict in communities, magnify inequalities and exacerbate gender inequalities,” ZIMCODD said. (CHITREST)

Anti–xenophobia demo rocks Harare
Hundreds of people on Friday morning marched to the South African Embassy offices in Harare and handed over a petition condemning xenophobic attacks in South Africa.

xenophobia demoThe petition was handed over to the country’s deputy Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Phumla Andy Makwabe, and called on their government to quickly restore order and protect foreigners who have come under siege from marauding locals in different cities of South Africa.

Police tried in vain to stop the demonstrators. Different speakers blamed both the Zanu PF and President Jacob Zuma’s administration for being complicit in the killing of hapless people.

Nearly 3 million Zimbabweans are believed to be staying in South Africa.

Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition director MacDonald Lewanika condemned the attack on foreigners, especially Zimbabweans, and urged President Robert Mugabe as Southern African Development Community (SADC) chairperson to make it clear that xenophobic attacks cannot be tolerated. “The President must make a definitive statement to the effect that what is happening is un - African, that the government of South Africa must take responsibility and stop what is happening. What is happening is criminal and the people who are perpetrating these acts must be arrested. This should be the message from SADC leaders like Mugabe,” said Lewanika.

Human Rights Watch senior researcher for Southern Africa Dewa Mavhinga also challenged President Robert Mugabe as the leader of the African Union and SADC to take action. “We are also saying that the reason why thousands of people are leaving the country and become victims in South Africa is that they are fleeing difficulties and repression back home. So it is not just about people you are seeing here against South Africa but for Mugabe himself to ensure that Zimbabwe is habitable and that there is a conducive human rights environment in this country.”

Glen Norah Councilor Hebert Gomba said the killing of foreigners in South Africa was unfortunate given that South Africans were also accommodated in other countries during hard apartheid times. “We all helped liberate South Africa , I wonder why then they are paying us back by killing our people. This is high level of ungratefulness ,we don't mean to say people like Mugabe are right by destroying local economies but xenophobia is not just a good way of dealing with this,” said Gomba.

James Chakawata from Seke condemned the attacks saying many innocent souls were being lost. “It never rains but it pours for poor people trying to earn a living. We have nothing else to do but petition for action and look up to God for help,” prayed Chakawata.

“The attack of foreigners living in South Africa is barbaric because Zimbabweans and other foreigners living in that country have also contributed to economic development there,” quipped Mafias Mare from Mbare.

“Am just thinking what could be the impact if all Zimbabweans would stop buying South African goods, this would teach Zuma and his people some hard lessons,” added Kuda Simango.

Meanwhile, the MDC has also condemned the escalation of xenophobic attacks on foreigners in South Africa. “With millions of Zimbabweans having fled the Robert Mugabe’s dictatorship and economic decay, these savage attacks are a cause of major pain and concern to us. We call upon the South African Government to deal decisively with this problem in order to prevent further loss of life. The SA government must realize that this is a ticking time bomb and if left unattended, can easily degenerate into more unnecessary blood –shed. The inflammatory anti -foreigners’ statements from some sections in leadership are also unhelpful,” reads part of a statement released by the opposition party.

At least ten people have been killed and thousands forced to flee their homes in one of the country’s worst outbreaks of xenophobic violence in years

MDC-T investigates Chitown mayor

The MDC-T says it will investigate its Chitungwiza mayor Philip Mutoti after residents approached the main opposition party to register their complaints over his alleged “dictatorial tendencies” that have seen him barring residents’ associations from council meetings.Mutoti also stands accused of owning vast tracts of land in the dormitory town, a development that has fuelled calls among residents for investigations into the conduct of council.

The Chitungwiza mayor recently admitted owning the land in question with the approval of Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo. On February 5 and March 31, the MDC-T-led council barred members of the Chitungwiza Residents’ Trust (Chitrest) from attending a full council meeting. Irked by the development, Chitrest officials approached MDC-T secretary for Local Government Eddie Cross, who confirmed meeting the residents’ representatives in an interview with NewsDay.

Cross said that after the meeting, they would institute investigations into Mutoti’s conduct, saying they were treating the situation in Chitungwiza as “an emergency”. “I had a constructive meeting with Chitrest officials and I reported back to the leadership of the party on the situation in Chitungwiza which represents an emergency. We will conduct an investigation into reports from the residents’ association and staff on some of the activities of the council,” Cross said.

“We intend to mount a major exercise in Chitungwiza. There is need for overall re-appraisal of how the council is functioning. As a party, we are saying that we have to holistically address the situation in Chitungwiza.”
Cross said Chitungwiza topped the list of local authorities that required “radical surgery”.

“We have a number of councils that are in deep trouble and I think the most affected is Chitungwiza which requires radical surgery,” he said.
The Harare Metropolitan Residents’ Forum (HamRef) condemned Mutoti’s alleged conduct, saying he was depriving residents of their right to fully participate in issues affecting their welfare. “Section 87 (1) read together with 87 (2) of the Urban Councils Act Chapter 29:15 states that every council meeting shall be open to the public and the Press. The fact that Chitrest representatives were barred from attending a full council meeting speaks volumes about the calibre of Chitungwiza councillors and the mayor, Philip Mutoti,” HamRef chairperson Simbarashe Moyo said.

“Even if there is not enough space in the council chambers, members of the public, who include Chitrest, must be allowed to observe through open windows. Thus the issue of space must never be used to deny the residents of their legally guaranteed right to observe council meetings.”

Chitrest director Marvelous Khumalo said: “We condemn such negative acts in a democratic society. Residents are going to act against such local authorities.”Mutoti could not be reached for comment yesterday. (Chitrest)

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