The Chitungwiza Residents Trust (CHITREST)campaign for clear and transparent processes in the allocation of residential stands by municipality has contributed immensely to Zimbabwe’s Access to information campaign.
To date the campaign has brought together the key stakeholders, that include the local authority, residents’, prospective homeowners and housing cooperatives in attempts to open up the process of stand allocation following the adoption of a housing policy for the dormitory town in April 2016.
CHITREST firmly believes that openness and accountability of the municipality will aid development in the town, and that only a clear housing policy that will address residents concerns on, payment schemes, allocation procedures and the role of private developers and the local authority on land set to be allocated. These issues are not adequately addressed in the housing policy and there are no mechanisms put in place to enforce the adherence by the local authority and other stakeholders to the provisions of the housing policy.
Corruption in the allocation of residential stands in Chitungwiza hit the headlines in April this year, following the release of an internal land audit report. The report revealed that identified elected councillors and council workers had ‘crippled’ the urban planning department by manipulating the residential stands allocating system by allocating themselves stands which they did not make any payments towards.
Allocation of stands is further shrouded in controversy owing to the lack of clarity on the role of the local authority and that of the central government through its local government ministry. Another concerns expressed by the residents includes the fact that the housing waiting list is not computerised and open to public ‘scrutiny’. This has left the process open to abuse and contestation as home-seekers are unable to monitor the progress of their applications for land.
While addressing a community meeting to consolidate resident and stakeholder input into the policy, Chitungwiza Municipality’s Director of Housing and Community Services, Mr Killian Dube admitted that over the years that the allocation of stands had been partisan and that the municipality would thrive to improve the process.
The meeting which was organised by CHITREST under its campaign, saw the presentation highlights of the Housing Policy. It is one of the strategies employed to opening up channels of communication between stakeholders and the municipality so that they are able to demand and access critical local information from relevant authorities so that empowered to participate and make informed decisions relating to their local governance issues.
Are these issues addressed in the housing policy? If so do you think they are adequate?