Media Update – Stakeholder Engagement Meeting-Chitungwiza
The Harare Residents’ Trust (HRT) convened a Stakeholders Engagement Meeting in Chitungwiza on 04 May 2018 in St Mary’s suburb. The Chitungwiza Municipality was represented by Emmanuel Mushata, the Acting Director of Works, and Godwin Manyumbu, the Acting Refuse Superintendent for Chitungwiza, who shared their challenges and vision for the Chitungwiza Munici9pality and also tackled issues of concern to the residents of Chitungwiza. Residents in attendance were drawn from the 10 suburban structures of the HRT in Chitungwiza, 50 of them. The National Association of Non Governmental Organisations (NANGO) Charity Terera and Onias Munamati represented the organisation. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the state of service delivery in Chitungwiza and chart the way forward. To interrogate the different issues affecting the residents, five focus group discussions were established to tackle specific service delivery issues and come up with recommendations and action plans to guide the work of the HRT in Chitungwiza. They resolved that they will push the authorities as much as they can so that their service delivery issues will be resolved within the shortest possible time.
Precious Shumba, the HRT Director presented on the state of service delivery in Chitungwiza. He briefly touched on the background of how Chitungwiza was set up as a satellite settlement by white minority rulers of Rhodesia. The Chitungwiza Municipality has been without a master plan from the time it was established to the present. It was used as a settlement for cheap labour for Harare’s growing industrial areas. The white people did not want to live with the black people so this resulted in them putting up Chitungwiza very far away from the town just to maintain racial segregation in terms of housing and accommodation. The whites introduced a pass law whereby the Black women were living in rural and their husbands staying in towns. The pass law entailed that the women apply for a pass so as to be able to visit their husbands in urban areas. And when they got in town they also registered their presence with the authorities, thus their movements were strictly monitored. The Smith regime feared an uprising of the masses if the unemployed and largely illiterate women and their children joined their husbands in urban areas without adequate social services. He mentioned that even up to now Chitungwiza has no master plan in place. The Land barons are conniving with corrupt councillors, Council and Government officials to issue land in undesignated and unplanned areas. Houses are being constructed on top of sewer pipes and this is why sewerage problems and diseases like cholera and typhoid continue to erupt, without a solution in sight. This background was shared so that residents know what issues they are dealing with and be able to articulate them whenever they get opportunities to engage with duty bearers.
Emmanuel Mushata, the Acting Director of Works informed the residents that the council is trying its level best to ensure that residents get all the services which they are supposed to be getting. The problems which they are encountering are that they do not have their own source of water as Chitungwiza Municipality. They get water from Harare. The challenge is that both Chitungwiza and Harare’s populations are growing, so the water supplies are no longer adequate hence the water rationing. He said there are 70 boreholes sunk in Chitungwiza by the Chitungwiza Municipality and 50 are functional, and they have engaged the United Nations Children’s Education Fund (UNICEF) for the repair and restoration of the broken down 29 boreholes so that residents at least have some water when they cannot access municipal water.
Godwin Manyumbu, the Acting Refuse Superintendent, in his presentation highlighted the growth of population as a major factor hindering their efficient and effective supply of services to the residents. He said it was disturbing to note that the refuse collection trucks that operate in Chitungwiza were bought in 1998. They are 20 years old that is why they are always in the workshop for repairs. The other challenge they face is of illegal settlements which do not have roads. They cannot enter in areas like Pagomba and some parts of NOP because there are no roads. They are appealing for residents to understand the challenges the council is facing. They wish to provide world class services to residents if only they can get funding.
Charity Terera from NANGO encouraged residents to be responsible and play their part by paying their monthly water bills, saying the more residents played their part, the better for service provision. In partnership with NANGO, the HRT will be conducting meetings to expand on the raising of political Constitutional rights of the citizenry.
Five groups were formed to discuss on the following Topics:
- Priorities of 2019 Municipality Budget
- Water and Sanitation
- Waste management and health and environment
- Public Utilities – Roads and Street lighting
- HRT Organisational Growth and Development
The HRT Director finally commended the residents for their active participation during the engagement, saying their mission as an organisation is to build capacity for production engagement among the citizens, their elected representatives and service providers in order to improve the living standards in communities. Residents benefited from the dialogue meeting as they had time to ask the council officials the most pressing service delivery issues that are affecting them. Going forward the council officials and residents and NANGO agreed to strengthen collaboration so that the residents challenges are addressed in a holistic and productive manner.