Media Advisory - BPRA and ZIMCODD Launch Campaign Against Prepaid Water Meters in Bulawayo
                                         
Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) in partnership with the Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD) will on Saturday 22 March 2014 hold a meeting to discuss the move by the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) to introduce prepaid water meters in Bulawayo. The meeting, which is set to take place in Cowdray Park (ward 28) where BCC intends to pilot the gadgets comes on the occasion of World Water Day commemorations which recognise access to clean, potable water as an inalienable human right. The aim of the meeting is to begin a debate on the merits and demerits of introduction of prepaid water meters in Bulawayo with the mind of mobilising residents to reject them as a violation of the right to water. The meeting will be graced by the Mayor of Bulawayo, Councillor Martin Moyo and the councillor of Cowdray Park, Collet Ndlovu. It is set to take place from 10am to 1pm.

The main question to be addressed by the meeting is whether or not it is prudent to introduce prepaid water meters in light of Zimbabwe’s political and socio-economic situation that has reduced most Zimbabweans to paupers with unemployment estimated at over 80 percent and most citizens with incomes below the poverty datum line. The meeting shall also question the effects of prepaid water meters on poor communities in light of the fact that safety nets for vulnerable groupings have all but disappeared since the inception of Zimbabwe’s political and economic challenges in the year 2000.

BPRA and ZIMCODD believe that prepaid water meters are undesirable as they lead to automatic disconnection of those who cannot afford to purchase water credit, meaning that poor people would be denied their right to water or forced to use less water than they need to lead a healthy life. They are also discriminatory as they allow the rich to use as much water as they want yet usage by the poor is limited. The two organisations have undertaken research that found that prepaid water meters are retrogressive, especially in poor communities.

Meeting to Discuss Introduction of Prepaid Water Meters in Bulawayo

DATE
WARD
VENUE
TIME
AGENDA
22/03/2014
28 (Cowdray Park)
Mahlathini Primary School
10am – 1pm
Prepaid Water Meters

Journalists are invited to cover the meeting.

Regards
Information Department
Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association
Bus. Tel: +263 9 61196
Cell: +263 772 516 729 or 0775 233 581
Twitter: @byopra
Facebook: www.fabook.com/uhlelolwezakhamizi

Alert – BPRA, PRIZ, BA and NYDT Hold Meeting On “Salary Gate”


The Public Policy Research Institute of Zimbabwe (PRIZ), a think tank organisation based in Bulawayo in collaboration with Bulawayo Agenda (BA), Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) and National Youth Development Trust (NYDT) will tomorrow (Thursday 20 February 2014) host a meeting to discuss corruption in parastatals. The meeting, to be held at Rainbow Hotel from 0900-1200 hours seeks to deliberate on the challenges facing parastatals in the country and how civil society can play a more effective watchdog role in the sector in light of revelations of corruption, mismanagement and looting. It will dwell on public accountability and corporate governance issues.

The meeting shall run under the theme “Fostering Public Accountability and Corporate Governance in Zimbabwe: Unpacking the “Salary Gate” in State Enterprises and Parastatals.”  The speakers are; Dr Gorden Moyo (MP) legislator and former minister of Parastatals and State Enterprises, Dr Peter Nkala, Director of the Institute of Development Studies at NUST and Dr Cornelius Ncube who lectures at Lupane State University. Invited guests include journalists, members of civil society, academics, the business fraternity, church leaders and members of the public.

The meeting comes at a time when a number of state enterprises and local authorities have been dogged by allegations of corruption and misuse of funds through huge salaries by senior managers.

Regards
Information Department
Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association
Bus. Tel: +263 9 61196
Cell: +263 772 516 729

Blog:  bprainfo.blogspot.com

Press Release - ZETDC Tariff Increase Unacceptable



BOX 2146                                                LAPH HOUSE                                         TEL       : 09 61196
BULAWAYO                                8TH FLOOR SUITE 803                           FAX      : 09 888211              
ZIMBABWE                                            8TH AVE, BTWN J.Moyo & FIFE ST       CELL    :    0772 516 729 / 0775 233 581                                                                                                                                               E-MAIL: progressiveresidents@gmail.com/
                                                                                                                                                byoresidents@gmail.com


Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA)

Press Release

Date:               6 February 2014
Contact:         Emmanuel Ndlovu
                        Advocacy and Programmes Manager
                        0775 233 581
                       

Proposed ZETDC Tariff Increase Unacceptable

The Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) believes that the request by the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) to increase tariffs by 16 percent is unacceptable and should be rejected by the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA) and Zimbabweans at large. ZETDC has formally applied for a tariff increase of 16 percent to ZERA in line with the Electricity Act citing the fact that there has only been one significant tariff increase since dollarization in 2009 while the current tariff rates had become untenable for its operations. The company argues that a marginal increase would be detrimental to its operations in the long term and has highlighted that it suffered losses from 2009 to 2013. 

BPRA however believes that a tariff increase of 16 percent is tantamount to holding electricity consumers at ransom in light of the country’s economic climate which is characterised by high unemployment and poor remuneration of civil servants who constitute a large proportion of the working population. As such, most people would not be able to cope with a tariff increase as they are constrained by a harsh economic environment. In cities like Bulawayo this has been worsened by rapid deindustrialisation and low levels of development. It is also BPRA’s reasoned opinion that an electricity tariff increase is imprudent as it would lead to magnification of inequalities since many areas now utilise prepaid meters meaning that the rich will be able to use as much electricity as they want while the poor will be subject to long periods without electricity.
BPRA thus calls upon ZERA and Zimbabweans at large to reject the proposal by ZETDC to increase tariffs. It makes no sense to the association that electricity charges be increased by 16 percent when generally salaries have remained static while inflation is only at 4,6 percent. The association instead urges the power utility to speed up the process of installing prepaid electricity meters as use of the technology could help the parastatal increase its revenue flows thus minimizing its monetary challenges.

Bulawayo residents made it clear that the move to increase tariffs was not welcome in the city at a consultative meeting with ZETDC and ZERA last Friday (31 January 2013). ZERA has been conducting meetings around the country to gather the views of stakeholders on their take on the proposed tariff hike before it makes a decision on the matter.

Signed

……………………………………………..
BPRA Advocacy and Programmes Manager
Emmanuel Ndlovu




Press Release - BPRA Hosts Residents Summit


Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association 

Press Release

Date:               16 December 2013
Contact:          Emmanuel Ndlovu
                        Advocacy and Programmes Manager
                        Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA)
                        0775 233 581
                       

BPRA Hosts Residents Summit

ABOUT thirty residents associations from across Zimbabwe will converge in Bulawayo on 18 and 19 December 2013 for a summit to map out an agenda of action for residents associations in the country. The residents summit, to be held at Montgomery Gardens in Richmond will be hosted by the Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA). The summit is aimed at synchronising and coordinating the activities of residents associations countrywide for improved advocacy and results in the quest to improve the livelihoods of residents in Zimbabwe. Also present at the summit will be key local governance stakeholders, including the Mayor of Bulawayo, Clr Martin Moyo, members of the parliamentary portfolio committee on local governance and a representative from the ministry of local government.

The summit will focus on three key areas. Firstly, there will be a scenario mapping session where an analysis of the political, social and economic environment in Zimbabwe will be done vis-a-vis the challenges faced by residents in their day to day lives. Secondly, based on the analysis of the environment, the role of residents associations in improving the lives of residents will be identified with key advocacy issues at both local and national level flagged. Thirdly, the summit will provide a platform for the establishment of collaboration and solidarity among residents associations to ensure a more powerful voice in advocacy on socio-economic issues affecting the lives of residents. This will also ensure a coordinated approach to advocacy on a national scale reducing duplication of efforts and increasing the competencies of residents associations thus improving efficiency.

As part of the two day summit, delegates from across the country will also get an opportunity to tour selected residential areas in Bulawayo in order to familiarise themselves with the service delivery challenges faced by the residents of Bulawayo and how BPRA has attempted to deal with such challenges. This will provide an opportunity for residents associations to share how they have dealt with similar problems in their areas, promoting exchange of knowledge and experiences.   

The summit will thus facilitate knowledge transfer and sharing of best practices, enabling residents associations countrywide to maximise on their strengths and opportunities, and find means to address their weaknesses and challenges. Holding of the residents summit follows recognition by residents associations of their important role and mandate in socio-economic development in the country, and the corresponding need for collaboration among residents associations in order to enhance the requisite capacities to accelerate their collective impact in society.

Signed

.........................................................
Mr Emmanuel Ndlovu
Advocacy and Programmes Manager
Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA)


Alert - BPRA Devolution Conference a Success


The Mayor of Bulawayo, councillor Martin Moyo delivering
the opening remarks at the devolution conference
BULAWAYO Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) successfully held its devolution conference on Friday 22 November 2013 where a framework for a devolved local government system in Zimbabwe that shall be used as a basis for advocacy on devolution was finalized. The devolution conference was attended by local governance stakeholders and residents association representatives from across Zimbabwe, members of the parliamentary portfolio committee on local governance, local parliamentarians and councillors. The Mayor of Bulawayo, councillor Martin Moyo officially opened the event. The core purpose of the conference was to collate and validate the findings of a nationwide consultation exercise that BPRA undertook throughout the country’s ten provinces to gather the views of Zimbabweans on how devolution in the country should be structured and operationalized. It also served as a platform to come up with a nationwide advocacy strategy on devolution of power to be implemented at the local level in all of Zimbabwe’s ten provinces.

Among the issues that were addressed at the conference were questions to do with the preferred levels of government, the geographic units of governance, the distribution of functions and responsibilities of provincial councils, allocation of resources, institutions of governance and the relationship between central government and provincial councils. Also addressed were issues to do with how devolution of power can ensure promotion of all the country’s languages and how it can ensure that local areas benefit from the resources that they are endowed with.

A plan for advocacy on devolution of power in all the country’s ten provinces was also mapped following agreement by delegates that there was need for a synchronised and coordinated approach to advocacy on devolution. It was agreed that residents associations in their localities in all the ten provinces of Zimbabwe would target communities, churches and traditional leaders in an effort to generate debate on devolution of power and demystify the concept. Other targets would include the ministry of local government, the local government board, the parliamentary portfolio committee on local government, the council of chiefs, parliamentarians and senators, using strategies such as public meetings, road shows, concerts, publications and advocacy meetings. The rationale behind the activities would be to mobilise people to support devolution and lobby decision makers and leaders on the concept. Delegates also stressed the need for increased momentum on advocacy and lobbying on devolution of power to ensure that the country realizes the gains on devolution of power that were ushered-in with the signing of a new constitution earlier this year. 

The conference was held as part of BPRA’s ‘Local Governance Project’ which sought to take advantage of the devolution provisions enshrined in Chapter 14 of the new constitution to lobby parliamentarians on the form and content of the devolution law that the country will adopt. The project was aimed at ensuring that the devolution of power adopted by the country is premised on the principles of active citizen participation, transparency and accountability.

Regards
Information Department
Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association
Bus. Tel: +263 9 61196
Cell: +263 772 516 729


Press Release - BPRA Holds Devolution Conference


Date:               19 November 2013
Contact:         Emmanuel Ndlovu
                        Advocacy and Programmes Manager
                        Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA)


BPRA Holds Devolution Conference

BULAWAYO Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) will on Friday 22 November 2013 hold a devolution conference to finalize a framework for a devolved local government system in Zimbabwe that shall be used as a basis for advocacy on devolution. The conference is part of BPRA’s ongoing ‘Local Governance Project’ which is aimed at ensuring that the devolution of power adopted by the country is based on the principles of active citizen participation, transparency and accountability. The Local Governance Project seeks to take advantage of the devolution provisions enshrined in Chapter 14 of the new constitution to lobby parliamentarians on the form and content of the devolution law that the country will adopt. BPRA believes that anchoring the design of devolution on citizen participation will ensure a local governance system that is developmental in nature, where local authorities shall be able to formulate pro-poor policies that help meet local needs and promote social and economic development of communities. 

The devolution conference, to be held at Montgomery Gardens from 10am to 4pm, will be attended by local governance stakeholders and residents associations from across Zimbabwe, members of the parliamentary portfolio committee on local governance, local parliamentarians and councillors. Its core purpose will be to collate and validate the findings of a nationwide consultation exercise that BPRA undertook throughout the country’s ten provinces to gather the views of Zimbabweans on how devolution in the country should be structured and operationalized. It will also serve as a platform for the launch of a white paper to be used to lobby parliamentarians on Zimbabwe’s devolution architecture.

Among the issues to be addressed by the conference and in the white paper are the preferred levels of government, the geographic units of governance, the distribution of functions and responsibilities of provincial councils, allocation of resources, institutions of governance and the relationship between central government and provincial councils.


Signed

.........................................................
Mr Emmanuel Ndlovu
Advocacy and Programmes Manager

Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA)

Press Release - BCC Should Recalibrate Budget Formulation Process


Date:              17 October 2013
Contact:         Emmanuel Ndlovu
                       Programmes and Advocacy Manager
                       Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA)


BCC Should Recalibrate Budget Formulation Process

The Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) is calling upon the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) to transform the way it formulates its budget as the current method is failing to adequately address the livelihood needs of residents. It is the association’s contention that the process is largely tokenistic, with the final determinations being arrived at by the local authority technocrats while the views of residents are largely discarded. In addition, only a handful of residents are consulted, with meetings inadequately publicised and the process designed in a top-down manner without much room for residents to shape the outcome of the consultations. While indeed residents are given room to air their views, there is no means for them to know how the final budget is arrived at. BPRA also feels that the once-off budget consultation meetings are inadequate to truly capture the views of residents on the budget. Methods such as surveys and ongoing meetings should also be considered.

BPRA believes that budgets should be crafted in line with the realities faced by the residents of Bulawayo. In tandem with this, they should be evolved to include a component that ensures that small grants are devolved to communities (wards or suburbs) to spend on things that they need. Such an approach would be pragmatic in light of the fact that the needs of communities across the 29 wards of Bulawayo differ. Thus in line with the principle of subsidiarity, it would be prudent for the budget to be moulded in line with the needs of communities, and for every community to be allocated grants for projects that need to be completed in that particular community. In such a scenario, consultations would have to be more rigorous, with a radical shift towards dialogic methods of including residents in budget consultations to ensure that the true needs of residents are captured in the budget formulation process.

BPRA believes BCC’s budget consultations are failing in this regard, with the views of residents from different realities being lumped together, leading to budgets that do not address pertinent issues faced by residents. This may explain why to date some areas in Cowdray Park still have no running water, while housing infrastructure in areas such as Sidojiwe Flats, Pelandaba and Iminyela is in a state of disrepair. Swimming pools in Barbourfields, Luveve and Mpopoma are not functioning, while elderly residents in areas such as Old Magwegwe, Makokoba and Mzilikazi are not receiving any social services from the local authority. BPRA believes these are everyday issues and problems that can be addressed if the budget process is recalibrated to focus on ward issues and if the views of residents from communities are actually considered in the formulation of the budget. 

Signed

.........................................................
Mr Emmanuel Ndlovu
Programmes and Advocacy Manager
Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA)