African Journal of
History and Culture

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Hist. Cult.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-6672
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJHC
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 187


Enhancing local governance through local initiatives: Residents’ associations in Zimbabwe

  Jephias Mapuva    
African Centre for Citizenship and Democracy [ACCEDE], School of Government, University of the Western Cape-South Africa. 
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 10 February 2011
  •  Published: 28 February 2011



Residents associations are a local initiative by residents within a specific community. Through residents associations, citizens have been able to keep local authorities in check and to demand accountability. With the economic crises facing many countries across the globe and the world recession setting in, as well as the economic meltdown in Zimbabwe over the last few years, which was exacerbated by a hyperinflationary environment, local authorities have had to contend with shortages of resources to dispense services to local communities. This has increased restiveness on the part of residents. The article eclectically draws from the mobilisation theory whose premise is that a disgruntled citizenry is easy to mobilise. The study of the Combined Harare Residents’ Association (CHRA) has shown that residents’ associations are a conduit through which residents can demand accountability and participatory spaces in promoting good local governance. This article seeks to explore the extent to which residents associations have enhanced citizen participation and promote good local governance. This article deliberates on the prospects and challenges which residents associations as residents’ initiative can enhance citizen participation in local governance.


Key words: Residents association, local governance, local authority, citizen participation, urban residents.