|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
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- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
Combined Harare Residents Association
Press Release – Thursday 4 August 2005
CHRA is concerned at the Judiciary’s delay in setting down our challenge to the extension of the Harare Commission beyond the 6-month term provided by the Urban Councils Act and confirmed by the Supreme Court in the case of Stevenson vs. Chombo, Chanakira Commission et al. in 2001.
The six-month term of the Makwavarara Commission expired on 9 June 2005. The Urban Councils Act requires that before expiry of its term, any Commissioner so appointed shall organize for elections to take place to fill any vacancy arising in Council.
CHRA applied for an urgent hearing of this matter, in order to avoid prejudice to residents in terms of rates and charges payments and prevention of their right to be represented by democratically elected councillors. Our urgent chamber application has still not been heard nearly two months later and this is unacceptable.
Residents are being forced to pay huge increases in their rates and charges, despite numerous objections that were lodged with the Municipality. The Makwavarara Commission has failed to respond to these objections in clear contravention of the law.
Furthermore hundreds of thousands of residents have had their homes, businesses, property and merchandise destroyed during “Operation Murambatsvina” instituted in the name of this illegal Commission. The wilful and insane attacks upon our citizens and their livelihoods have been condemned by the United Nations and CHRA’s position is vindicated by the international condemnation of the so-called clean up campaign.
Now residents are being forced into paying arbitrary and varying amounts from $50,000 to $37 million for “search fees”, “regularization fees” and other dubious fees arbitrarily imposed by this illegal Commission. There is no rule of law in Harare and residents’ rights to justice have been denied.
CHRA will continue to assert its rights as a legally constituted body mandated to act on members’ behalf in its constitution. We therefore call upon all responsible residents to reject the actions of this illegal Commission. Stand up for your rights to democratic, accountable and transparent local government.
Chairperson, Legal Committee, CHRA
For further information, contact CHRA Chairperson on 011 612 860, 011 612 811 or 011 618 595