Combined Harare Residents Association, Press Statement
HARARE – The 12th of August is International Youth Day, the Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) joins hands with the rest of the world in commemorating this important and significant day running under the theme “Transforming Food Systems: Youth Innovation for Human and Planetary Health”.
We believe that in a country with a young population, local governance is a strategic entry point and arena for youths to be part of the decision makers in the management of the environment and natural ecosystems that are catalysts for transformation in food and health.
Devolution of power further strengthens and accords our young population latitude to have a voice over the extraction natural resources and environment management.
While the Zimbabwe National Development Strategy recognise the importance of improving youth participation at all levels and devolution of power as pathways “Towards a Middle Income by 2030”, it is worrying the most significant number of our young population remain at the periphery of local governance.
It is critical to know that in as much as 53.6% of our population is below 20 years while 62.9% of the population is below 24 years, the composition of our Councils for both elected and non-elected positions is not reflective that Zimbabwe has a youthful population.
We believe that youths if accorded the opportunity have countless ICT based solutions in water, health and environmental management for our local authorities.
The perennial water crisis in Harare which has seen the City producing 370 mega-litres of water per day against a demand of 1200 mega-litres per day is mostly an environmental and governance challenge that calls on for a robust young people led community stewardship in the management of wetlands and catchment areas.
We therefore recommend the following:
- Speedy implementation of devolution as provided in Chapter 14 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.
- Provision of a quota system to ensure equal representation of women, young women, and youth, in the composition of auxiliary structures of the provincial council and all elected and non-elected local authorities’ structures.
- Access to information on the gazetted ecologically sensitive areas (wetlands) in Harare and allow youths led community stewardship in the management of wetlands and provide youth quota in the composition of Catchment Councils.
- Intensification and robust use of ICTs in water, environmental and health management in the City of Harare.
CHRA will continue to advocate for quality municipal services and good local governance, and youths have a great role to play in enhancing our local governance system.