Friday, August 28, 2009


By Fortune Moyo (Media and Publications Officer)

The Local Level Advocacy Programme (LLAP) encourages citizen participation in decision-making processes and also makes them aware of their rights as citizens. It is in this vein that Habakkuk Trust continues in its constitution-making process awareness programme in the communities, where it enlightens the communities on the constitution-making process and how they can be part of the process.

Habakkuk Trust took the awareness programme to Gwanda on the 27th of August 2009, where Habakkuk teams went to Zhukwe East-West, Datata-Silikwe and Dambashoko. A total of 100 participants, from the three Action Teams where taken through sessions on the process and content of the constitution making process.

In Zhukwe, the 49 participants present engaged in heated discussions on issues of rights with a specific interest in women and orphan rights. One woman summed up her concerns when she said “Bayasincindezela thina omama,ngitsho imbiza lemiganu kayibizi thina ibiza omkethu (We are being oppressed as women, even our plates and pots are owned by our husbands).”

There were some expressions that point to a lack of faith in the process as one of the participants felt that views of the ordinary citizen might not be considered when he said “Ubona angani thina abantukazana bangasilalela na? Bangafaka yini izikhalazo zethu kuConstitution (Do you think that anyone will listen to the voices of the ordinary people that we are? Do you think they can actually include our suggestions in the Constitution?),”

The headman made it clear that as a community, they want a bottom-up approach, where they are part of every process, not a top-down process where everything is imposed upon them, including the Constitution itself.
“Sifuna izinto ezivela phansi zisiyaphezulu, hatshi okuvela phezulu kusiza phansi.”(we want bottom up and not top down processes)

Dambashoko had 23 participants, 6 of whom were youths. At the end of the meeting the participants were able to identify issues that they wanted included in the constitution, and which they are going to bring up during the consultative meetings. They identified the right to education for their children as a priority in the new constitution.

Miss Siphiwe Dube buttressed the point by saying, “Mina bengabuya ngizabatshela ukuthi ngifuna abantwana bebelelungelo labo lokufunda (when the outreach teams come to our areas, I will tell them that our children’s right to education should be a priority),”

The 28 participants who were at Silikwe acknowledged the importance of their participation in the constitution-making process. Mr Nkomo said, “It is important for us to be part of the process, because the Constitution reflects my aspirations as a human being.”
Mr Dube, the Convener also said it was important for them to spread the knowledge and information they had gained to other people.
“It is our duty to spread the information to other people. That is what we were taught during the advocacy training,” he said.

These meetings have revealed that there is a huge information gap in the communities as far as the process is concerned. Habakkuk Trust will therefore continue to monitor the constitution making process to ensures that through its various community action teams information filters to the people. It is a Habakkuk Trust priority that the process should be as people driven possible.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Gwanda schools desperately in need of classrooms

By Khumbulani Maphosa

Datata and Wilikisa Primary Schools in Gwanda’s Ward 2 are in desperate need of additional classrooms as they are currently operating with five and two classrooms respectively as revealed by the Habakkuk Trust Community Action Team members.

The Datata Primary School, established in 1951 is operating with two blocks of classrooms that have five classrooms. This has resulted in children learning in composite classes, a situation that greatly undermines their learning process, as two classes of different levels are under one roof. This has seen for example some grade two pupils writing grade five homework as they are simultaneously subjected to these different level lessons.

Mrs P Nyoni, an Action Team Committee member said “thina singancedisa nge pitsand, izitina, labantu bokusebenza” (we can assist with pit sand, bricks and labour). There is already a classroom block that is at foundation level courtesy of community effort.

Wilikisa Primary School in Zhukwe was established in 2002 and opened on the 13th of May the same year. The school is operating with just one block of two classrooms with only one of them roofed.

The Datata and Zhukwe Action teams are involved in advocacy work to solicit for the completion of the Datata block and the construction of additional blocks respectively. They have already started doing in-depth research on the various relevant stakeholders whom they can engage at the policy dialogue level. At this stage various stakeholders who are concerned with the issue are called together so that they can commit themselves towards bringing a given community advocacy issue to its logical conclusion.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Councillors' Allowances Gazetted


By Khumbulani Maphosa

The Ministry of Local Government, Urban and Rural Development has with effect from July gazetted monthly allowances for Councillors for both urban and rural authorities, a move meant to cater for their welfare and motivate them to efficiently and effectively execute their duties in the midst of the prevailing harsh economic environment .

According to a circular sent to all local authorities recently Mayors in the Cities of Bulawayo and Harare will now receive monthly allowances of USD150, Deputy Mayors USD140, Committee Chairpersons USD120 whilst ordinary Councillors will take home USD100. However in all other cities Mayors will pocket USD130 their Deputies USD120 Committee chairpersons USD110 and other councillors will walk homeUSD100 richer.
Mayors and their Deputies in Municipal Councils will get USD120 and 115 respectively while Committee chairpersons and ordinary councillors will take USD110 and 100 respectively.
Chairpersons of Town Councils will now be getting monthly allowances of USD90 their Deputies 80, Committee chairpersons 70 and ordinary councillors USD60. Chairpersons of Local Boards will however have to contend with USD70 a month whilst their Deputies USD60, Committee chairpersons USD50 and ordinary Councillors USD40.

The situation is however bleaker in Rural District Councils as the Chairpersons are expected to be happy pocketing a paltry allowance of USD50, their Deputies USD45, while Committee chairpersons and ordinary Councillors have to settle for a meagre USD40 and USD35 respectively.

This issue has been a contentious one with some people arguing that when one is chosen to serve the people at a local level, they are not supposed to be paid for that as they are elected for the job. Howver, on the other hand, the Councillors have always requested for some allowances for their job.

What are your views? do you think they should be paid or not?

Mangwe residents encouraged to pay their rates


By Khumbulani Maphosa

THE Mangwe community should ensure that they pay their rates on time so as to realise development in their wards, said the Finance and Human Resources committee Chairperson, Cllr B Ndlovu.
Cllr Ndlovu said this during a full Council meeting on Tuesday 18 August 2009 at the Mangwe RDC offices.

“The money collected through rates and levies will be ploughed back to the community to develop roads and other forms of infrastructure. If a ward has not paid its rates, it will not realise much development because we will not allow funds to be taken from a ward which contributes in terms of rates, to develop another ward that does no contribute anything,” said Cllr Ndlovu

He also advised the council authorities to ensure that development programmes are done speedily in the wards so as to motivate ratepayers to pay their rates on time as they will be realizing the fruits of their rates.

Speaking at the same meeting, the Mangwe Rural District Chief Executive Officer Mr N Mangoye urged councillors to open ward accounts where their proceeds will be deposited.

“Councillors, through their local leadership systems and structures should open ward accounts. It is unacceptable for the council to hand over hard cash meant to be ward plough-backs to individual Councillors as it is risky and compromises on professionalism and accountability,” he said.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Lack of advocacy skills affect Matabeleland South projects

By Khumbulani Maphosa

A field tour by Habakkuk Trust and the Association of Evangelicals in Africa (AEA) to Gwanda and Matobo on the 30th of July revealed that most sustainable livelihoods projects are failing to prosper because communities lack advocacy and development skills.

The team visited an irrigation project at Tsimbane in Guyu under Gwanda district and Patalika/Vusisizwe Project in Sun Yet Sen in Matobo. Both projects are facing viability problems due to theft, vandalism and poor management. Underlying these causes is the communities’ inability to come together and find local solutions to their problems.
The Matobo project has a massive potential of growth and produces a lot of sugar cane and wheat. However, the farmers do not have a proper commercial market for their produce.

Habakkuk Trust’s advocacy programme can come in handy for these communities to equip them with skills of solving their problems and being able to engage potential commercial markets for their produce. In June this year, the organisation trained the Matobo Development Association. The training of these project managers can help complement the efforts of the association and other service organisations, especially those responsible for the establishment and rehabilitation of dams and irrigation schemes.

Councilors need capacity building:Chamber Secretary

By Khumbulani Maphosa

The Bulawayo City Council (BCC) Chamber Secretary has revealed that Councilors are in dire need of capacity building on basic governance and advocacy issues, to enable them to execute their duties properly, effectively and efficiently.

Mrs S Zhou revealed this information during a meeting that was held on the 30th of July at the BCC. The meeting was between the BCC and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) working in the city.
Mrs Zhou said since the Council gets new Councilors almost every four years, it is important that they are equipped with knowledge and the capacity to be able to address the grievances of the community. Their lack of skills causes them to confuse technical and administrative issues.
She urged NGOs to see the need for capacity building of Councilors as one of the partnership opportunities between the Council and NGOs working in Bulawayo.

The objectives of the meeting were to establish a forum for interaction between BCC management and NGOs, to enhance goodwill and establish structures to improve communication between the Council and NGOs as well as to share information on various projects being implemented in the city and identify areas where the Council can enhance its facilitative role.