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Open letter to Harare city councillors

I HOPE this letter finds you well, dear councilor. Firstly the Harare Residents Trust (HRT) is greatly disappointed after discovering, by coincidence, about your budget meeting at Town House on Tuesday. As HRT, we anticipate that as our elected leader you side with the struggling resident of Harare.

The residents of Harare are facing serious problems at community level with particular reference to service delivery.
Communities continue to bear the brunt of a collapsed road network, poor street lighting, irregular refuse collection, polluted water, burst sewerage pipes, overgrown grass in public spaces, dilapidated social infrastructure and unsustainable bills. Not to mention ineffective representation of residents in local government issues. Below are the suggested budget figures from the Harare community:

  • Refuse $1; rentals US$5; water US$2; sewerage reticulation US$2; cemetery charges US$10.
  • Maternity fees — free; supplementary charges US$1; clinic charges — US$1 for consultation.
  • Parking in CBD US$1 per day; hall bookings US$25.
  • Library fees US$1 per month; flea market rates to be reduced by 50% of current rates.
  • Council school rates must go down by 40%.
  • Residents want the city to reduce its its workforce by 20% in the 2011 city budget.

The HRT through its community advocacy work is communicating the wish and aspirations of community. It challenges you to think seriously about these issues and suggestions raised by the communities. This will enable Harare residents to participate in issues that affect them on a daily basis.

This is critical as poor and unaffordable services being offered currently are impacting negatively on the welfare of the vulnerable and disadvantaged members of the Harare community which include women, children, the unemployed youths, the elderly and the disabled — to mention a few.

The HRT strongly believes in the principle of social justice, participation, transparency and accountability and these fundamental issues should be prioritised and attended to through your esteemed office. We believe in a “bottom up approach” to local governance rather than a “top down approach”.

It’s “time out” for ineffective representation at local government level, poor community service delivery and lack of action on your part as our councilor. It’s also time for you to realise and appreciate that leadership is more of a responsibility than a privilege.

The Harare Residents’ Trust

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