THE Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) has urged its members to boycott paying rates and other council obligations to protest government’s arbitrary appointment of a commissi
on to run the city’s affairs, the Zimbabwe Independent has gathered.
CHRA said it would also seek an urgent High Court injunction to stop Local Government minister Ignatious Chombo from appointing the commission.
Chombo’s commission will be made up of members from the Johannes Tomana and James Kurasha committees which will be bolstered by acting mayor Sekesai Makwavarara.
Tomana’s committee, which comprised four members, investigated and recommended the firing of Harare’s opposition MDC executive mayor Elias Mudzuri for alleged misconduct. Mudzuri was popularly elected Harare mayor in 2002.
The Kurasha committee had five members who included ruling Zanu PF top functionaries Tony Gara, Tendai Savanhu and Harare Province’s acting administrator Bernard Chahuruva.
Chombo plans to appoint a commission because the committee which currently exists alongside a handful of Zanu PF councillors cannot pass a budget since it has not been officially installed as the authority in charge of Harare.
CHRA chairman Mike Davies confirmed the call for a boycott saying it was the only weapon residents could use to force government to call for elections in Harare.
“We called for the boycott since Mudzuri’s dismissal,” Davies said.
“We repeat that age- old principle: no taxation without representation.”
In a statement to the Independent, CHRA saidgovernment could not afford to have democratically-elected representatives at Town House because they would open a can of worms.
“Chombo once more displays his disrespect for the laws passed by his own party,” CHRA said.
“The city belongs to the residents of Harare who fund its operations through their rates and other financial contributions,” it said.
“As such it is up to all residents to reject the imposition of another Zanu PF commission by withdrawing all support for the municipality until we regain the power that is ours. The law is very clear on our rights to elect an executive mayor and council.”
CHRA said if a commission was to be appointed its terms of reference should be to facilitate mayoral elections and not to assume the duties of an elected council.
The association also said when a democratically-elected council was restored at Town House, it would press for the creation of an investigation committee to expose nepotism, corruption and mismanagement and examine the collusion of senior municipal officials in the theft of residents’ democratic rights.
Zanu PF is expected to appoint party apparatchiks to the commission to run the affairs of Harare City Council within 21 days. The commission would be a direct U-turn by Chombo, who in April ruled out such a set-up claiming that he had “seconded competent and experienced personnel to help the city improve service delivery”.