“Residents not Ready for Electricity Tariff Hike” – BPRA tells ZERA


Bulawayo residents, under the aegis of the Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) on Friday 30 November 2012 told the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA) that the residents of Bulawayo and citizens of Zimbabwe at large will not be able to cope with a hike in electricity tariffs. The residents were speaking at a meeting held between ZERA representatives and members of BPRA who included chairpersons from the association’s various committees across the city. ZERA is holding meetings with stakeholders across the country to get their input regarding a proposal by the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC), a subsidiary of the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) to increase tariffs.

Residents told the ZERA representatives that residents would not be able to pay their bills if tariffs were increased due to the harsh economic climate in the country that was making it difficult for them to pay their electricity dues at the current rates. They argued that if there was a tariff adjustment, it would have to be downwards as service delivery by ZESA was appalling, and residents struggling to settle their bills. BPRA also used the meeting to register its dismay with continued load shedding in the country, and continued disconnection of residents with outstanding bills. The residents also argued that an increase in tariffs should be preceded by an improvement in quality of services by ZESA, not the other way round.

Regards
Information Department
Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association
Bus. Tel: +263 9 61196
Cell: +263 773 788 183
Website: www.bprazim.org

BPRA Holds Social Accountability Conference

Residents follow proceedings at a conference held by Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) last year

Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) will on Saturday 10 November 2012 hold a Social Accountability Conference meant to provide a platform for residents to dialogue with ministers in the inclusive government on critical issues of development and governance. The conference, which will be held at the Large City Hall from 0900hrs to 1700hrs will run under the theme “The Right to Know.” The main objective of the conference is to strengthen the role of residents as engaged partners in the governance process and to stimulate local participation through engagement between the residents and holders of public office.  At least 1200 delegates, mostly residents’ leaders from all of Bulawayo’s 29 wards are expected to attend the conference. Other delegates will be drawn from political parties, civil society and the religious sector. Speakers expected at the conference include the Minister of Water Resources Development and Management, Samuel Sipepa Nkomo, the Minister of State Enterprises and Parastatals, Honourable Gorden Moyo, the Minister of Education, Sports Arts and Culture, Hon David Coltart and the Minister of Industry and Commerce, Honourable Welshman Ncube. Deputy Prime Minister, Honourable Thokozani Khupe is expected to officially open the conference.

The holding of the Social Accountability Conference is based on BPRA’s belief that holders of public office should account to citizens for the work they do, as they are ultimately in office at their behest and meant to advance public interests. In line with this, the various ministers are expected to account to the residents of Bulawayo, explaining what their ministries have been doing towards enhancing development and promoting the welfare of residents.  Minister Sipepa is expected to update residents on what his ministry is doing to end Bulawayo’s water woes. He is expected to focus on progress with the Mtshabezi pipeline, the Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project and other projects meant to end Matabeleland’s water problems. Meanwhile, Minister Moyo is expected to dwell on progress being made by his ministry to resuscitate parastatals in light of the fact that most of them are under-capitalised and failing to operate profitably and competitively. Minister Coltart is expected to update residents on steps being taken by the government to improve education in the country, and particularly in Matabeleland which has complained of marginalisation in education. Lastly, Minister Ncube is expected to appraise residents on efforts by his ministry to improve the performance of industries as a central tool towards spurring economic growth in the country. Inevitably, he will also have to answer questions on the issue of the Distressed and Marginalised Areas Fund (DIMAF) which most people feel has failed to solve problems of de-industrialisation in Matabeleland.

This will not be the first time that BPRA holds a conference of this nature. The association held its first Social Accountability Conference in 2012 which was attended by 800 delegates. Its follow up conference, a Service Delivery Conference which was held at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair on 11 September 2012 was graced by 2000 delegates.

Alert – BPRA Weekend Activities (2, 3 and 4 November 2012)


Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association shall be holding Constituency Consultative Meetings in Bulawayo this weekend to unpack the COPAC Draft Constitution to the residents of Bulawayo. The moral imperative behind the initiative is to augment and reinforce mechanisms of popular control by bringing Members of Parliament, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and residents to a point of dialogue  concerning the draft constitution and solidify their position regarding the direction which the country should take, ahead of the referendum. It is the conviction of the association that there is need to minimise the hegemony of political parties in dominating the debates  around the remaining stages of the constitution making process and to take the discussions to the communities to ensure that residents become engaged and informed partners.

The schedule for the meetings is as follows:

 Upcoming Constituency Meetings Schedule

Date
Constituency
Time
Venue
speakers
Fri. 2 Nov.
City Centre & Sauerstown, Trenace
1600hrs-1900hrs
Presbyterian Church (City Church)
COPAC representatives, CSO and BPRA representatives
Sat. 3 Nov.



Makhokhoba, Thorngrove &B.F, Mzilikazi
1400hrs-1700hrs
Stanley  Hall
COPAC representatives, CSO and BPRA representatives
Sat. 3 Nov.



Sizinda/  Tshabalala & B.G, Bellevue
1400hrs-1700hrs
Tshabalala Hall
COPAC representatives, CSO and BPRA representatives
Sun. 4 Nov.
Nketa 6, 7, 8, 9 & Emganwini
1000hrs-1300hrs
Nketa Hall
COPAC representatives, CSO and BPRA representatives
Sun. 4 Nov.
Suburbs, Queen’s Park, Waterford & Burnside
1400hrs-1700hrs
School of Mines
COPAC representatives, CSO and BPRA representatives

Regards

Information Department
Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association
Bus. Tel: +263 9 61196
Cell: +263 772 516 729
Twitter: @byopra
Facebook: www.facebook/uhlelo.lwezakhamizi
Blog: bprainfo.blogspot.com

Press Release - Mayor's Comments on Emganwini Demonstration Disturbing


Press Release - 30 October 2012


Date:               30 October 2012
Contact:         Emmanuel Ndlovu
                        Programmes and Advocacy Manager
                        Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA)


            Mayor’s Comments on Emganwini Demonstration Disturbing

Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) is concerned that the Mayor of Bulawayo, Thaba Moyo does not understand his mandate as the Mayor of the city as witnessed by his response to the demonstration that was held by residents from the Millennium Housing Area in Emganwini last week. The residents on Friday 26 October 2012 stormed Nketa Housing Office demanding ownership of the houses that were built by Australian donors and allocated to them 10 years ago. They called for an explanation from the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) arguing that in their understanding the houses were completely paid for hence they did not understand why they have to pay monthly rentals over and above service charges. In his response, the Mayor reportedly said the local authority was not going to do “anything until they (the residents) talk to us (the local authority) using proper channels.” He also reportedly argued that the houses were “specifically for renting purposes.”

BPRA believes that Mayor Moyo was out of order in making the above statements. It is the association’s belief that the local authority, and particularly the Mayor and councillors are in their positions at the behest of the residents and should focus on addressing the concerns of the residents. For the Mayor to boldly declare in a national newspaper that the local authority will not respond to the residents’ concerns is a sign of arrogance and is tantamount to negligence of duty. BPRA sees the Mayor’s remarks as emblematic of a culture of self importance and arrogance that characterises holders of public office in the country who fail to prioritise the interests of the masses because they develop a god complex once they get into positions of power. BPRA would like to remind holders of public office such as Mayor Moyo that they were voted into their offices by the residents and should always thrive to work in the interests of the residents and avoid putting their egos in the way of developmental work.

It is the association’s contention that the concerns raised by the residents of Emganwini’s Millennium Housing Scheme are genuine and need to be urgently addressed by BCC. For the Mayor to say the residents used improper channels is neither here nor there as the message in the petitions and the placards they were waving was clear. BPRA believes BCC should put its ego aside and address the residents as quickly as possible.

Regards
............................................................
Emmanuel Ndlovu
Programmes Manager
Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA)


Residents Call for BCC Water Bowsers


Weekend Meetings Review – 29/10/2012

Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) yesterday (Sunday 28 October 2012) held two meetings to discuss the water crisis in Bulawayo where some residents revealed that they were only receiving water for periods of less than an hour each week. The meetings were held in Mpopoma (ward 9) and Nkulumane (ward 23) where residents got an opportunity to dialogue with their respective councillors on the current water situation in the city. Speaking at the meeting held in ward 9, residents of Matshobane complained that they seldom have water as they are located on high ground, and often go for as long as one week without water, with the water only coming for about forty five minutes once a week. They said what made matters worse was that the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) bowser that brings water to the area parks in Mpopoma where water supply is stable, further worsening the plight of Matshobana residents as they have to compete for water with Mpopoma residents. In Nkulumane, residents similarly said they were going for long periods without water and called upon BCC to avail water in bowsers to the area to ensure that residents at least have enough water to meet basic needs.

BCC has previously acknowledged that areas on higher ground are being affected more by water shedding due to gravity. Thus while water may be turned on as stipulated in the city council water shedding timetable, some areas do not receive even a drop of water by the time water is closed again for the next round of water shedding. While BPRA is aware that Bulawayo is facing a grave water situation that necessitates extended water shedding, the association is appalled that the local authority is not putting any measures in place to ensure that all residential areas get at least enough to meet basic requirements. As it stands, the rights of residents to access clean drinking water is being denied in many parts of the city. BPRA once again calls upon BCC to avail water bowsers in areas on high ground that are going for water shedding for longer periods than stipulated in the current water shedding timetable. So far, BPRA is aware that these areas are found in suburbs such as Njube, Matshobana, Old Magwegwe, Nkulumane 12, Entumbane, Emganwini and Pumula South.  

Regards
Information Department
Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association
Bus. Tel: +263 9 61196
Cell: +263 772 516 729
Twitter: @byopra
Facebook: www.facebook/uhlelo.lwezakhamizi
Blog: bprainfo.blogspot.com
   

Emganwini Residents Demonstrate Against BCC


Residents Voices – Issue 84  (26 October 2012)

Residents, mostly elderly women, demonstrating against the
Bulawayo City Council (BCC) this morning. 
DOZENS of residents from Emganwini’s Millenium Housing Scheme area in Bulawayo this morning besieged Nketa Housing Offices demanding title deeds for the houses they occupy and protesting the monthly rentals they are paying. After the demonstration, they left letters addressed to Bulawayo Mayor, Councilor Thaba Moyo, Town Clerk Middleton Nyoni and the city’s Director of Housing and Community Services, Isaiah Magagula stating their demands. A copy of the letter was also forwarded to the Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA).

In the letter, the residents said they felt aggrieved by the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) which they accused of fleecing them by demanding payment for houses whose cost they said  was covered by donors. They argued that the Millennium Housing Scheme was aimed at improving the livelihood of poor residents who were living in squalor at Sidojiwe Hostels following intervention by donors who financed the whole project. The residents thus argued that they were not meant to be paying rentals for the houses, since the cost of the houses was covered by donors, not the local authority.

In interviews during the demonstration, the residents revealed that they had resorted to staging a demonstration after efforts to engage in dialogue with the Mayor on the issue proved fruitless.

“We held a meeting with the Mayor more than a month ago, and he promised that he would facilitate a meeting between us (Emganwini Millenium Housing residents’ leaders) and BCC officials including himself, the director of housing and the director of financial services. He said he was going to contact us, but until now, we haven’t heard from him,” said one of the residents’ leaders who declined to be named. “This demonstration is therefore an attempt to get the attention of the council on this issue, so that something is done to immediately solve the problem,” she said.

The residents revealed that they had accrued massive bills due to the monthly rentals they pay over and above service charges, which are pegged at $42 per month. As a result, they said most of them had had their water disconnected on numerous occasions and lived in fear of having their property seized by the local authority for failure to pay the rentals.

While BPRA does not have BCC’s side on the issue, the association is taking the demands of the residents seriously and believes that it is important for BCC to move swiftly towards addressing the concerns of the residents. BPRA is concerned that there seem to be information gaps on the handling of the Millenium Housing Scheme in Emganwini which could have compromised transparency and accountability in the scheme. The association thus calls upon BCC to immediately avail information on what the Millenium Housing Scheme entailed and also address the residents of Emganwini on their concerns.

Regards
Information Department
Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association
Bus. Tel: +263 9 61196
Cell: +263 772 516 729
Twitter: @byopra
Facebook: www.facebook/uhlelo.lwezakhamizi
Blog: bprainfo.blogspot.com

Residents Call for Funds for Completion of Matabeleland Projects

Bulawayo is facing a debilitating water crisis while the Matabeleland Zambezi
 Water Project (MZWP), which is touted as as lasting solution to
Matabeleland's water problems  remains a pipe dream


RESIDENTS of Bulawayo and surrounding areas have called upon the Finance Ministry to avail funds for the completion of outstanding projects in the region. The residents were making contributions at a 2013 budget consultative meeting hosted by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Budget, Finance and Investment at the Small City Hall in Bulawayo last week. The residents called for allocation of funds for the completion of the Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project (MZWP), Nkayi Road and the Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport. These calls come at a time when Bulawayo is facing a debilitating water crisis characterised by official water shedding for 72 hours a week in all residential areas while some suburbs such as Old  Magwegwe, Emganwini, Mpopoma and Njube go for longer periods without water. It is also a time when construction at the Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo has been ongoing for several years while air travellers use a hangar that was converted into a temporary checking point ages ago.

Residents said it was time the government completed the projects in the interest of the welfare of the people of Bulawayo and Matabeleland. They argued that the MZWP was the only solution to the water woes facing Bulawayo while completion of the airport was necessary as it was the gateway to the city and essential for economic activity as it would facilitate travel into the city by potential investors. Other issues that were raised by residents included the need for the government to allocate adequate funds to the health, education, mining and agricultural sectors as they are central to improving economic development in the country and addressing unemployment.

Activists in Matabeleland have for a long time argued that the region was marginalised by the government. A plethora of projects initiated by the government remain incomplete in the region. These include the Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport, Nkayi Road, the National University of Science and Technology (NUST), the MZWP and Lupane State University (LSU). The region has also been gravely affected by rapid de-industrialisation characterised by closure of companies and laying off of workers. The government has been accused of lacking political will towards addressing all these issues.

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


Meetings on Constitution in Pictures






Alert - BPRA Holds meetings on Constitution

Residents following proceedings at one of the meetings on the
constitution on Saturday 13 October 2012

BULAWAYO PROGRESSIVE RESIDENTS ASSOCIATION (BPRA) has launched meetings designed to take the draft constitution to the residents of Bulawayo and give them a platform to express their views on the contents of the document. The meetings, which are being addressed by Members of Parliament (MPS) and Civil Society Organisation (CSO) representatives, are aimed at ensuring that the residents of Bulawayo get an understanding of what is contained in the COPAC draft constitution and make informed choices when the referendum is held. The meetings also aim at harnessing the views of residents so that they can be espoused on their behalf by CSOs and other stakeholders at the second all stakeholders’ conference that is imminent. The meetings are in line with BPRA’s belief that there should always be widespread consultation of residents in the development of policies that affect their livelihoods to ensure that policies match the wishes of the people.

The first batch of meetings held under this series were held this past weekend (13 and 14 October 2012) in Njube (ward 14), Luveve (ward 15), Pumula (ward 19) and Emakhandeni (ward 11). Members of Parliament Honourables Samuel Sipepa-Nkomo, Reggie Moyo and Albert Mhlanga attended the meetings to address residents on the constitution making process and the contents of the draft constitution.  Also present were CSO leaders including Mr Effie Ncube of Matabeleland Constitutional Reform Agenda (MACRA), Ms Anastasia Moyo of the Centre for Women’s Action and Rev Useni Sibanda of the Christian Alliance. One recurrent issue raised by residents was on the need for devolution of power to be enshrined in the final constitution to ensure that all regions in Zimbabwe gain control of their development projects and develop equitably. Residents also expressed fears that the ZANU PF constitution which essentially seeks to reverse democratic strides in the constitution would also be tabled at the second all stakeholders’ conference. They were however assured that according to COPAC, only the COPAC draft will be discussed at the conference.

Note: BPRA will be continuing with the meetings on the constitution until the referendum is held. Timely updates on those meetings will be provided.

Regards
Information Department
Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association
Bus. Tel: +263 9 61196
Cell: +263 772 516 729
Blog: bprainfo.blogspot.com
Twitter: @byopra
Facebook:  www.facebook.com/uhlelo.lwezakhamizi

BPRA to step up use of social networking sites


Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) is stepping up its social networking campaign as a means to increase the reach of the information it disseminates and promote citizen participation in local governance. This is in line with the association’s belief that citizen participation in discourses on service delivery and local governance is important in ensuring that the socio-economic needs of residents are considered in the day to day operations of the national and local authorities. This follows a week long social media training workshop hosted by OSISA in Magaliesburg, South Africa which was attended by the BPRA Information Manager, Mr Zibusiso Dube. Among issues leant at the workshop was how to link various social networking sites for enhanced reach to stakeholders, and how to manage content on the sites for maximum impact.

The social networking sites, encompassing Facebook, twitter, blogger, YouTube and possibly Picasa will be aimed at serving three key functions. Firstly, availing residents with critical information pertaining to service delivery and local governance. Secondly, to provide platforms for residents to share their views and wishes on service delivery and governance issues. And lastly, to act as tools to bring to the fore anomalies in service delivery and execution of public mandates by holders of public office in order to promote accountability in their operations. The use of social networks as important communication tools comes after a realisation that they are a good medium to reach to the youth, who most often constitute a sizeable portion of the populace and are generally apathetic when it comes to issues of governance and service delivery.

Importantly, the social networking sites will allow the association to employ use of multiple media forms – text, video and images – to communicate with residents, and they will enable two way communication between BPRA and its various stakeholders. The association therefore calls upon residents, partners and other stakeholders to participate in the online discourses on critical issues affecting the lives of not only the residents of Bulawayo, but Zimbabweans at large.

A stream of sewage in front of the public library and Zimdef building in Bulawayo's Central Business District

Alert – BPRA Weekend Activities (6 & 7 October 2012)


Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) will on Saturday this weekend (6 October 2012) be holding two consultative meetings at Lobengula Hall in Ward 14 and Inzwananzi Primary School in Gwabalanda (ward 16) to discuss the water situation in Bulawayo. The meetings will provide residents in the areas with an opportunity to discuss their views on the water crisis with their councillors and BPRA representatives. BPRA is engaged in a campaign on the water crisis that is meant to ensure that residents are aware of the graveness of the water crisis in Bulawayo and act to conserve water. The campaign also aims at pressuring BCC and the government to act to solve the water crisis and prevent outbreak of diseases such as cholera and typhoid, while acting as a conduit for the airing of the views of residents on the issue. The campaign includes monitoring of the water situation in the city and its effects on the lives of residents, and dissemination of information to residents on the gravity of the situation

The schedule for the activities is as follows:

Consultative meetings on Bulawayo’s Water Crisis

Date
Ward and Area
Venue
Time
Sat 6 Oct 2012
Ward 16 – Gwabalanda
Inzwananzi Primary School
2pm to 5pm
Sat 6 Oct 2012
Ward 14 – Lobengula
Lobengula Hall
2pm to 5 pm

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

Alert - Pumula South, Emganwini residents call for electricity



BULAWAYO residents have expressed concerns that Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) is failing to supply some residential areas with electricity, many years after their houses were built. There are many suburbs in Bulawayo that have spent  many years without electricity. Pumula South (Phase 2) residents complained that they have spent more than eight years without electricity. The residents revealed that they had even paid some money towards erection of poles for electricity cables more than three years ago, but to date no action has been taken by the power utility company to avail them with power. The residents also reported that last year ZESA employees came and collected transformers in their area and connected them to another Pumula South section that now has electricity. Residents said this was raising suspicions of corruption in the operations of ZESA as it seems to be giving preference to other residents. The residents expressed concerns that unavailability of electricity had led to many accidents in the area with people losing property to fires caused by candles and paraffin stoves.

In Emganwini, residents resettled under the Millennium Housing Scheme have faced similar challenges to those faced by Pumula South residents. The residents have spent eight years without electricity. The residents told Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) that they are spending as much as three dollars per day on firewood, or opt to look for firewood at the nearby bushes, which is illegal and warrants a fine from local authority employees. The residents also said young girls were exposed to sexual abuse in the bushes while looking for firewood.

BPRA therefore calls upon ZESA to make an effort to ensure that all residential areas that do not have access to electricity are connected. The ZESA authorities have to make sure that they distribute the available electricity in the country fairly among residents as electricity is a necessity for all in a modern society.

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

Alert – Normal Rains only Hope for Residents



BULAWAYO residents have only the next rainy season as their hope for an end to the current water crisis as the completion of the Mtshabezi pipeline and the augmentation of supplies from the Nyamandlovu aquifer will only shelve the increasing of water shedding from the current 72 hours a week. Speaking during a tour of the Umzingwane Dam and Mtshabezi pipeline on Friday 21 September 2012, Bulawayo City Council (BCC) officials said the completion of the Mtshabezi pipeline, which will provide Bulawayo with an additional 17 000 cubic metres of water per day, would not lead to a reduction in water shedding, but would only ameliorate the current crisis by deferring increasing of water shedding to 96 hours per week or more. This means that the current water crisis in Bulawayo will only end if the city’s supply dams, Umzingwane, Lower Ncema, Upper Ncema, Inyankuni and Insiza receive significant inflows during the oncoming rainy season. If rainfalls are low, then the water crisis will persist and worsen, necessitating increased water shedding ultimately spelling disaster for the city. This would worsen the plight of residents, who are already reeling from the current 3 days per week water shedding amid complaints that some residential areas are facing water cuts for longer periods than indicated in the water shedding timetable. 

Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) thus believes that there is a need for concerted efforts by Bulawayo residents to use water sparingly to stretch the available supplies until dams receive significant inflows. To facilitate this, there is  need for BCC to step up its water conservation campaign so that residents realize that they have a role to play in ensuring that water supplies last. The association believes a vibrant water conservation awareness campaign is a better option than increasing water shedding as the current water shedding is already drastic and has infringed on the rights of residents to access clean water, posing a health hazard. Also, there is a need for the speedy completion of the Mtshabezi pipeline and resuscitation of boreholes at the Nyamandlovu aquifer to improve the situation.  It is BPRA’s contention that once the current crisis is over, efforts should turn towards the duplication of the Insiza pipeline and the National Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project (NMZWP) to ensure that there is never a repeat of such a crisis. Dillydallying by the government and the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) on the implementation of strategies to end Bulawayo’s water crisis should end immediately.

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

Press Release - BPRA Hosts Peace Day Concert



  
Date:               18 September 2012
Contact:         Emmanuel Ndlovu
                        Programmes and Advocacy Manager
                        Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA)



BULAWAYO Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) will on Saturday 22 September 2012 hold a concert at the Large City Hall from 2pm to 5pm to commemorate the International Day of Peace, a day which is observed worldwide on 21 September each year. The theme for this year’s commemorations is ‘Sustainable Peace for a Sustainable Future.’ The concert will feature the play “1983: The Years Before and After” by Jahunda Community Arts, and music and dance from artistes including Siyaya Arts, Umdumo WeSizwe, Black Umfolosi, Jays Marabini, Willie Watafi, Simon Banda and Family Voices.

BPRA is holding the concert as part of its Residents Building Peaceful Communities Project that aims at instilling a culture of peaceful coexistence among residents in Bulawayo regardless of differences in political persuasion, religious affiliation, race or ethnicity. As part of the project, the association has held various community dialogue meetings and leadership fora that have brought together residents’ leaders, political party representatives and church leaders to discuss issues to do with peace building and reconciliation in Bulawayo.

The concert to be held on the International Day of Peace will seek to promote peace and tranquility through music, theatre and dance. The concert will seek to unite Bulawayo residents on the common values of peace and harmony, realizing that a sustainable future for not only Bulawayo, but Zimbabwe at large is only possible if there is peace in the country.

The International Day of Peace was initiated by the United Nations (UN) in September 1981. The occasion has since been declared by the General Assembly of the UN as “a day devoted to strengthening the ideal of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples.”


Regards

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



Press Release - Children Should Not be Chased from School




Date:               4 September 2012
Contact:         Emmanuel Ndlovu
                        Programmes and Advocacy Manager
                        Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA)


BULAWAYO Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) is calling upon the Ministry of Education to ensure that children are not chased away from school for failure to pay fees when the new term commences next week. The association has noted with concern in the past that schools deny children who have not paid fees access to school despite ministerial directives that this should not be done. This has meant that children from poor families – child headed families, families headed by senior citizens and families headed by labour constrained parents – have been denied access to education which is a human rights violation. Even children with working parents and guardians have been affected as most people feel the pressure from the economy, which is characterized by low salaries and liquidity problems.

BPRA thus calls upon the Ministry of Education to put measures in place to ensure that children are not chased away from school. The association welcomes announcements that as a policy, the government prohibits school heads from denying children access to school and from increasing school fees. However, efforts should be put in place to monitor the conduct of school authorities to ensure that they adhere to directives from the ministry of education. BPRA believes that schools should engage with parents and leave children alone to pursue their studies. After all, schools enter into contracts with parents and guardians, meaning that children should not be affected in the event their parents or guardians fail to settle their tuition.

When schools open next week, BPRA will be monitoring schools in Bulawayo to ensure that children are not being chased from school. The association will as usual seek legal assistance to ensure that any schools that send children away, allow them to return to class or face legal proceedings.

Regards

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