The Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) is pleased to join the nation, the United Nations Population Fund and indeed the rest of the progressive world in commemorating world population day, 11th of July.

The world population day is celebrated to highlight the importance of addressing and finding solutions to population issues. The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) partners with governments and non-governmental organizations in 140 countries to promote reproductive health. These programs help to save lives, slow the spread of HIV and encourage equal rights for men and women. This, in turn, helps to reduce poverty and stabilize population growth, creating more healthy and prosperous families, communities and a better world. Better (2008) 

The residents of Harare commemorate this day in deep sorrow yet with great resilience. We are a population that has been condemned into abject poverty by the Government of Zimbabwe through reckless and ill-advised political and economic policies. On this day, we remember how the notorious Operation Restore order left many of us homeless and without food. Operation Murambatsvina/Restore order was a state sanctioned and executed exercise that saw the demolition of homes, informal industries and market stalls which the Government considered illegally established. In Harare alone, 700 families were left without food and shelter as a result of this exercise. The effects of this program are still being felt to date with hundreds of residents in Harare facing starvation and death.  

For the last decade, we have experienced a serious economic meltdown, so much that many of us survive on informal jobs and we cannot afford to build or access the so called formal houses. Indeed we were utterly shocked by the Government when it sought to destroy the informal industries which had formed the backbone of the economy. Without these informal industries and shelter, many residents are now living in abject poverty, a status where they cannot afford a descent meal, shelter and we cannot access even the most basic health and social services; including HIV and AIDS treatment. The scourge of AIDS threatens to wipe the entire population as it is exacerbated by absolute poverty. The government of Zimbabwe is not keen on addressing the emerging challenges of hunger and poverty. The economic collapse and hyper inflationary environment has made sanitary wear beyond the reach of many forcing them to use dangerous birth control pills which pose several threats to their health.  

On this day, we also reflect on the deepening socio-political crisis obtaining in our country; which has further condemned us into deep poverty, squashing every little hope of survival we cling on. Between March 29 and June 27 2008, 43 of our members experienced human rights violations which range from abductions, beatings, threats and many other kinds of torture, at the hands of either ZANU PF militias or the state security operatives. Three of our members had their homes petrol bombed and property destroyed. Two CHRA activists were abducted, tortured, murdered and their bodies left to decompose. May their dear souls rest in peace. It is so sad that no arrests let alone meaningful investigations have been made in connection with these atrocities. Other civic society movements have experienced worse atrocities than this. Such a political environment continues to hurt our economy as no one can ever have confidence to invest in Harare. On June 27, ZANU PF went ahead to hold the presidential run off elections, despite calls by the civic society and the International community to postpone the elections given the amount of violence visited upon the opposition and civic society across the nation. Against this background, we have an illegitimate Government which; despite its failure to address the current economic meltdown, remains arrogant and impervious to progressive ideas and ideology. The economy is characterized by a run away inflation rate of over ten million percent. As this crisis deepens, more and more of us are sinking deeper and deeper into poverty; and every hope of survival is fading away. Thus on this world population day, we continue to suffer in poverty at the hands of a Government we did not elect; a regime that has turned against its own people.  

The Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) takes the world population day as yet another opportunity to remind the illegitimate regime that it has failed to make any meaningful progress towards achieving any of the goals associated with the world population day. Rather the regime continues to inflict more suffering upon us. The world population day is also an opportunity for us to remind SADC, the African Union and indeed the United Nations that we are a population that is in need of you. Meanwhile the Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) reaffirms its continued fight for enhanced civic participation in local governance. The Association is exploring creative ways of responding to the social welfare and reproductive crisis faced by residents in Harare.  

Farai Barnabas Mangodza

Chief Executive Officer

Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA)

145 Robert Mugabe Way

Exploration House, Third Floor


[email protected]

 Landline: 00263- 4- 705114 

Contacts: Mobile: 011 563 141, 0912638401, 011862012 or email [email protected], [email protected] and [email protected]

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