Residents are blocking the town hall business

For many Tunisians, the town hall, or “Al Baladia” in Arabic, represents the structure that picks up their garbage. For others, it is the unlikely architectural structure located in the Kasbah in front of the government palace. For the residents of El Menzah 9, the town hall of Tunis, this municipal council wants to do business on the street of Abdelaziz Thaalbi, which is very crowded because it is narrow, by putting hard shacks in a file, which is 50m2 each. Future stores that he can rent throughout the year. A juicy future business that was put to death by a strong mobilization of local residents, who filed a complaint because of the extreme administrative opacity covering the project, the mayor refused to explain who would benefit from the space. community.

On the order of the Tunis administrative court, obtained by Business News, the lawyer appointed by the associations and residents of El Menzah 9, Saber Ben Ammar, explained in his complaint, that the mayor of Tunis, Souad Abderrahim, had granted permits, to persons not from the municipality, for the construction of premises for commercial use in the single “green” space in Menzah 9.

In his attack, the lawyer also announced the amount of rent that would eventually be collected by town hall. Two thousand dinars per year and per hut. He also denounced the violation of the code by local authorities which states that residents have a say in projects being carried out in their neighborhoods. And indeed at this point, several associations climbed to the plate as soon as the first town hall bulldozers appeared on the land in question.

Along with the district delegate, we contacted town hall in February for explanations, but we received no feedback. We filed requests with Freedom of Information to see the minutes of the meetings where these decisions were made, but we received no response. “explanation of the head of the association of the green zone El menzah, and added:” We learned that at the meeting of the municipal council, the president of the constituency of El Menzah 9, Mr. Dabbebi stated that the residents of the district have given their approval for the project. This is wrong! Residents of this area are opposed to the commercial project. We repeatedly asked Mrs. Abderrahim to explain to us what was going on, but we got no answer. We are for the economic development of the country but we need to know what is being prepared and we need to explain or at least inform. “.

Beyond the disturbing opacity imposed by the local authority on this project, the negligence of a normative order was noticed by district residents who complained of power cuts. In fact, in the video document obtained by Business News, we see municipal workers of the site, without adequate clothing, working shovel by hand directly on the electrical wires, jagged, feeding the area.

The initiators of the project, in this case, the members of the municipal council, do not live in the district of El Menzah 9. They work to meet the requests of the real proponents of the project and see this land, which is not can be developed into the latest development plan, a financial operation. They do not see, however, that Abdelaziz Thaalbi Street is already subject to a major traffic problem and that perpendicularly, Tahar Ben Ammar Avenue, a dozen anarchic constructions, “akcheek”, are scattered on the sidewalks.

In the face of mobilization, on May 29, 2022, the administrative court of Tunis ruled. Work will be postponed. It was a first success for the community as residents continued to monitor the area. ” Despite the court order, small devices are operated occasionally during the day in the field confessed the owner of a store near the controversial construction site. An irregularity was also noticed by Business News in a trip to the area made on the morning of June 8th.

Since the formation of El Menzah 9 in the 80s and 90s, the land, which has been the subject of controversy, has been abandoned by town hall with garbage and stray dogs killed at night. An abandoned land that cannot be built according to the development plan. District residents have always called for the installation of a fitness trail, a green zone. Now his vocation has changed, without anyone knowing how. It becomes a commercial area.

When they see huts selling tobacco and contraband products popping up like mushrooms on the sidewalks, Tunisian question analysts must face the facts: Tunisia’s business model is primarily focused on building cafeterias and “Akcheek”!

At a time when many see town hall services filling holes in the roads with sand and gravel, the residents of El Menzah 9, itself, see themselves confiscated a piece of land by strangers in the community, the whole had the active help of the town hall, trying to flee to the front.

Sofiene Ahres

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