Mbare Residents Urged to Unite and Demand Better Living Conditions

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HARARE – Everyone deserves to live in a conducive environment with access to clean water, and just living conditions, Comfort Mpofu, Sales and Research Intern at Zimbabwe Human Rights Monitors Platform (ZHRMP), has said.

During a residents meeting at Matapi block 10, Mpofu encouraged the residents  to petition the City Council or Government about the poor infrastructure and living conditions they have been constantly complaining about over the past two years, saying beyond engaging supervisors, the Block 10 residents needed to escalate their ordeal.

“People should meet together with the leaders and discuss on how the issues affecting the community are not being taken serious by the Council and after that the next step will be to petition, you write down a petition to the Council.

“if the petition is not heard, you are able to take the next step which is in the Constitution on Section 59 and institute a legal civil disobedience,” he said.

Arleta Chaunoita, local chairwoman representing Block 10 residents, described the situation as deplorable, with people bathing together due to lack of privacy and water. Despite years of complaints, the Council has taken no action. Comfort advised including these issues in the petition and seeking legal action if necessary.

“The way we are living is hard, we have cried and cried to the Council for years now but nothing is being done, there is no water in the ladies bathroom and last month we had to call the supervisor so we can try to fix the problem ourselves,

“We have plumbers living among us and they gave us a quotation so that we could fix the problem ourselves but when the supervisor came everything was stopped as we were told it was illegal to fix Council pipes without their permission and involvement,” said Chaunoita.

Responding to the issue, Mpofu confirmed that at law, the residents could not temper with Council property. 

“In as much as you wanted to fix the problem yourself and was stopped, that issue should be included in your petition, because if you say you have had no water and jumping sewer for many years, its high time the community take stiffer steps so you can be heard,” he said.

“In terms of the law, we can file an urgent chamber application because the living conditions are miserable, so we can file an urgent chamber application at the High Court, but this has to be done at the same time with the petition so that it can perfectly work,” said Mpofu.

Chairman Shoko voiced his exasperation, revealing that despite the Mayor’s assurances, no progress has been made in addressing the issues. He stressed the importance of residents uniting to demand better living conditions.

“I’ve personally made numerous trips to the District Office, secured contacts, and received empty promises to visit,” Shoko said, underscoring his efforts.

Regarding the petition, Shoko advocated for summoning residents to discuss the matter and reach a collective agreement.

“Given the political nature of this area, failure to summon residents may lead to backlash. We have video evidence from two years ago highlighting the same sewage issues, yet nothing has changed. It’s crucial we work together, putting aside party affiliations, to address this issue that affects us all,” he emphasized.

The meeting highlighted the urgency of addressing the sewer and water issues, particularly with the risk of cholera outbreaks and health concerns for children. 

Unity and collective action are crucial for the community to demand their rights and improve their living conditions.

Amandla Centre of Zimbabwe, a community development organization, has been collaborating with community champions to facilitate community dialogues. These dialogues provide a platform for community members to raise their concerns and connect with local leaders, aiming to find solutions to their challenges. Through this initiative, Amanda Centre of Zimbabwe supports community empowerment and bridging the gap between citizens and their leaders.

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