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Citizens bruised by over bearing Harare City Council

18 Aug 2015 at 10:49hrs | Views
Citizens in Harare who purportedly owe the City of Harare money through non-payment for water had their property attached, water disconnected and water meters removed.

Community Water Alliance and Combined Harare Residents Association visited Mufakose today as a follow up to a public meeting jointly organized by the two associations on Friday 14 August 2015 at Nazarene Church. Community Water Alliance noted that more than three quarters of marginalized citizens who had their property attached were not served with summons. Some of the households served with summons had their water meters removed long back about two years ago although their water bills still indicate current meter readings.

The citizens through legal guidance from Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights visited Room 7 at the Harare Magistrate's Court to locate summons as case numbers indicated on the executions of judgment. No summons were availed serve for the promise that they will continuously search for them. Meanwhile Harare City Council disconnected more than 50 households today 17 August 2015 in the same suburb of Mufakose. Of those disconnected comprising mostly households headed by widows, many had evidence that payments they have made months back were not registered in the system.

On a different note more than 50 citizens gathered at the residence of the CWA Programmes Manager today 17 August 2015 between 6:30pm - 7:00pm in three different groups asking for assistance in addressing their challenges. Old women who lost their property and those who were served with summons wept uncontrollably.

Community Water Alliance urge the broader civic society organizations to put heads together and assist citizens in defending Section 77a of the Constitution of Zimbabwe which recognize water as a human right. There is need to balance power relations between officious, over-bearing Harare City Council and weak bruised citizens through civic education and public interest litigation.

The City of Harare Department dealing with water has already indicated in its five year Strategic Plan that water disconnections and property attachment are their key strategies to raise money for the local authority. It is pathetic that majority of councilors and bureaucrats in Harare, who themselves have huge water debt at their premise have agreed to heap the burden on poor citizens. Let's capacitate citizens at local level so that they hold duty bearers accountable.

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Timothy Chitambure can be contacted at communitywateralliance@gmail.com



Source - Timothy Chitambure
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