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Residents Groups Launch Organization to Tackle Urban Woes

Representatives of residents’ associations operating in Harare province, including satellite towns and municipalities such as Chitungwiza, Norton and Goromonzi, on Tuesday met on the sidelines of the annual general meeting of the Combined Harare Residents’ Association (CHRA) and launched an umbrella body that will represent the interests of residents and ratepayers throughout the metropolitan province.

Speaking at the launch, CHRA chairperson, Simbarashe Moyo said the new body - the Harare Metropolitan Residents’ Forum, has an uphill task to engage authorities to formulate policies that are pro-residents of the province.

Chitungwiza Residents’ Trust deputy board chairperson, Tinashe Kazuru said there is need for residents’ organizations to work together in articulating issues that affect residents so that the organization will remain relevant.

Harare Residents Alliance chairperson, Israel Mabhowo, also said authorities should not install pre-paid water meters in the Harare metropolitan province before ensure that all the taps have water.

He said failure to provide basic services such as water in households undermines the legitimacy of local authorities and the government in general.

Meanwhile, Harare mayor Benard Manyenyeni told delegates to CHRA’s 11th Annual General Meeting that there has to be a social contract between local authorities and ratepayers to improve service delivery.

He urged ratepayers to timeously pay their bills, adding organizations representing residents should also work closely with their elected councillors to ensure that problems affecting residents are addressed with speed.

Some representatives of the organizations present said plans are underway to influence the formation of one representative body of residents in all provinces with a view to establish a national organization that represents the interests of all ratepayers countrywide.

They said this will help them in engaging government on issues affecting ratepayers instead of the current situation where there are several bodies doing so.

The CHRA meeting was held under the theme: “Rethinking local governance in Zimbabwe”.