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New residents Association in Gokwe ready to hit the ground running

Ephraim Munhuwei

Combined Gokwe Residents and Rate Payers Association (CGRARPA) has taken a high level of elevation to register their group and hit the ground running in representing Gokwe residents.

CGRARPA is a group comprising ten committee members from four Wards in Gokwe Town including Njelele Ward 3, Nyaradza Ward 2, Mapfungautsi Ward 4 and 5. The committee members will represent the local people and assist in tackling issues for the successful development of Gokwe Town.

The association was formulated in December 2022 after the members of the committee realised that there was a higher degree of de-centralisation of devolution implementation. Furthermore, the failure of the Gokwe United Residents Association (GURA), which had failed to play a civic role for Gokwe residents also led to the formulation of CGRARPA.

Speaking in an interview with this reporter Charity Mungwani who is the former Gokwe Deputy Mayor and now the Chairperson of the newly formed association stated that they already have a constitution and have since elected committee members.

“We have our constitution in place, our mission vision, and core values are also in place and we are ready to represent residents’ views and concerns providing a forum for them and consider matters of local concern and importance. As residents, we wish to make sure that we are considered in budget consultations and utilize the 30-day period of rejection of the proposed budget by the council. We wish to track the budget and to have a voice as residents in prioritizing projects, especially GRSSD.

“Everything which has to do with the resident’s needs and to be like intermediators between residents and council and we wish to bring water control from ZINWA to the council so that we can monitor the water rates. We are ready to hand over our engagement and position papers at the coming consultation meeting,” she said.

She added that the committee members are at the highest level of elevation, raising money to gravitate their association by registering so that they will have powers to reach and question local government authorities and ministries.

“We are now raising our funds for registration and we are also trying to reach some of the ministries to help us if possible because as the association we are not formally employed so it will take time to get the amount needed,” she said.

On Saturday 01 September 2023 CGRARPA engaged experts from various civic society organisations amongst them the Zimbabwe Organisation for Youth in Politica (ZOYP) together with ACBs they held an orientation meeting of the CGRARPA committee members and taught them how to go about their duties.

Programs Officer Polite Agape Ndlovu stated that Residents Associations and Civic Society Organisations have a role to play in growing the capacity of Ratepayers by making them aware of their obligations and rights.

“Ratepayers must be aware of their obligations and rights, so you as a Residents Association group have to inform and make them aware of their obligations and rights through posters, flyers, word of mouth, and any other form of communication that might be comfortable to everyone. Your Association has to prioritize transformative participation which recognizes equal representation of women, young women, youths, people with disabilities, and any other special needs group in the composition of auxiliary structures and you must act as promoters of local democracy through performing a watchdog role over elected and non-elected leadership.

“Residents Associations and Civic Society Organisations have the right to engage with the minister of local governance proposing citizen’s expectations and aspirations on devolution implementation, especially infrastructure development. Also, you have to trace every step done by the council, doing both qualitative and quantitative research on what the residents and the council agreed on during the consultation meetings so that there will be no loopholes on people’s needs”, said Ndlovu.

He further encouraged CGRARPA members to motivate and mobilize residents in Gokwe to attend consultation and budget meetings.

“You have to motivate residents to attend budget meetings so that they understand every step taken by the council in terms of budgets on rates payments and the process of crafting devolution legislation must be participatory, inclusive, and time-bound,” said Ndlovu.

The CGRARPA comprises the Chairperson Charity Mungwani, Vice Chairperson Ruzoka, Secretary General Mushayi L and Vice Secretary Portia Ndavala, Treasure is Nkomo U and Committee members include Pasipamire R, Vimbai Mukova, Apology F Serengwa and Hwabayi N.

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