Minister Chikukwa should give residents a chance

via Minister Chikukwa should give residents a chance | The Zimbabwean by CHRA 24.09.13

The Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) has learnt that the Minister of State for Harare Province, Miriam Chikukwa, has indirectly ordered Harare City Council to start implementing the ZANU PF manifesto. She said this at a function hosted for her by the Zimbabwe Youth Council in honour of her appointment as the minister responsible for Harare.

Ms Chikukwa addressed the crowd present adding that since ZANU PF is the party with the majority in Parliament, its manifesto should be the standard guide in terms of service priority much to the surprise of Harare Residents. However, in Harare during the just ended elections, ZANU PF got only 7 council seats out of 46 making it a minority in Council which uses the same system as that of parliament when it comes to movement of motions and resolutions.

It is quite saddening to note that a whole minister would sing for their own supper in contravention of the people’s right to participation in governance. She should understand that Harare City Council and other local authorities are autonomous bodies set up in terms of the urban councils Act and the rural district councils Act. It defies logic that Minister Chikukwa, whom residents believe must have been chosen on the merit of her capacity and knowledge of public management, has decided to misfire by raising her political party’s flag in a manner that is bent on suffocating the space created for residents to get involved in governance at local level.

As CHRA we understand that politicians are bound to make populist statements whenever they get overwhelmed by their respective offices or the people surrounding them but we are not tolerant of extreme populism which is counter progressive to citizen participation and engagement. We will not let politicians decide on our fate whilst we sit back and watch them enjoy the proceeds of the tax payers’ sweat without taking necessary legal action.

This message should be embraced by all those in public office that as residents we demand that we will not let any political party decide our own destiny in terms of governance and service provision. We will not entertain a situation where Harare City Council dangles the ZANU PF manifesto for our perusal on service priorities and engagement.

Going forward, we have since alerted the city of Harare that CHRA on behalf of Harare residents will be hosting a series of public dialogue forums meant to give residents an alternative platform to meet their councillors and the City technocrats. It is our hope that residents should be given enough and adequate platforms to engage with their leaders and interact on issues that have got a bearing on the general and local economic development of their communities.

History has it that responsive government’s can only function if they are constantly in touch with their people hence we will endeavour to create as many platforms as we can in order to augment the involvement of residents in local governance.