Police block BPRA meeting
BULAWAYO police on 23 March blocked Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) members from holding a training workshop that was scheduled for Saturday 26 March in Cowdray Park suburb. The police said they would not allow the workshop to go ahead because the residents had informed them late that they would be holding such a meeting. BPRA was appalled by the move as it was a blatant affront to the right to assembly as enshrined in various international instruments such as article 20 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that stipulates that everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association. The association saw the blocking of the workshop as part of calculated moves by the police to undermine freedom of association and assembly in the wake of possible elections later this year.

BPRA continuing with trainings
Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) is continuing with its training workshops targeted at residents’ leaders in all the city’s 29 wards. The workshops taking place under the Residents leadership Development Programme are aimed at imparting knowledge to community leaders on issues of participatory democracy. Residents’ leaders are then expected to transfer the knowledge they would have acquired to other residents in their communities. Subjects covered under the programme include leadership, public policy and advocacy, elections, peace building, documentation and local governance. So far, ten wards out of Bulawayo’s 29 have graduated, namely wards 2, 13, 14, 15, 19, 20, 23, 24, 25 and 26. Before the end of April, the next batch of 10 wards is expected to graduate. These are wards 3, 8, 11, 12, 17, 21, 22, 27, 28 and 29. The remaining 9 wards will undergo the training and graduate as the year progresses.

Residents to engage with Members of Parliament     
Bulawayo residents from across the city will in the months of April and May get an opportunity to engage with their respective Members of Parliament on how the Constitutional Development Funds (CDFs) were put to use. In those months, Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) will be organising consultative meetings in all the city’s constituencies to give residents an opportunity to dialogue with MPs on the pertinent issue of CDFs. The meetings are in line with the thrust of BPRA to promote accountability in the conduct of public officials and instil a culture of participatory democracy in Bulawayo. The meetings will give residents an opportunity to ask for clarification on how the funds were used and at the same time give MPs an opportunity to update residents on developmental projects financed by the CDF funds.

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