Residents block the store at City Hall

For many Tunisians, the town hall, or “Al Baladia” in Arabic, represents the structure that gathers their waste. For others, it is this unlikely architectural structure that is located at the Kasbah in front of the Government Palace. For the residents of El Menzah 9, Tunis City Hall, it is this municipal council that wants to do business on Abdelaziz Thaalbi Street, which is already very congested because it is narrow, by installing hard huts in a single lane, of 50m2 one . Future shops that she can rent all year round. A juicy future business that was stopped to death by a strong mobilization of local residents who filed a complaint due to the extreme administrative opacity covering the project, as the mayor had refused to explain who would benefit from the community space.

In the ruling from the administrative court in Tunis, which Business News could obtain, the lawyer appointed by the associations and residents of El Menzah 9, Saber Ben Ammar, explains in his complaint that Tunisian mayor Souad Abderrahim has given permits to persons who are not from the municipality , for the construction of commercial premises in the only “green” space on Menzah 9.

In his attack, the lawyer also reveals the size of the rent that will ultimately be charged by City Hall. Two thousand dinars a year and per cottage. He also condemns the violation of the Local Government Code, which stipulates that residents have an influence on the projects carried out in their neighborhoods. And quite rightly on this point, several associations have stepped in as soon as the first bulldozers of the town hall appear on the grounds in question.

With the neighboring delegate, we contacted City Hall in February for explanations, but we have not received any feedback. We have submitted requests for freedom of information to view the minutes of the meetings at which these decisions were taken, but we have not received a reply. “explains the leader of the Green Zone Association El Menzah, adding:” We were told that during the meeting of the municipal council, the chairman of the constituency El Menzah 9, Mr. Dabbebi, stated that the residents of the district gave their approval to the project. It is wrong! The residents of the area are against this commercial project. We have repeatedly asked Mrs Abderrahim to explain to us what is happening, but we have never received an answer. We are for the country’s economic development, but we need to know what is being prepared and that we are being explained or at least informed “.

In addition to the worrying opacity imposed by the local authority on this project, neglect of a normative order was noticed by the residents of the district, who complained about power outages. In fact, in the video document obtained by Business News, we can see the municipal employees on site, without adequate clothing, working with shovel in hand directly on the electrical wires, thanks, which feed the area.

Those who started the project, in this case the members of the municipal council, do not live in the district El Menzah 9. They work to satisfy the requirements of the real initiators of the project, and who see in this country, which can not be built on the latest development plan, a financial operation. However, they do not see that Abdelaziz Thaalbi Street is already facing a major traffic problem and that on the perpendicular, Tahar Ben Ammar Avenue, a dozen anarchic structures, “akcheek”, are messing up the sidewalks.

Faced with the mobilization, the Tunis administrative court ruled on May 29, 2022. Work is being postponed. A first victory for the community, whose residents continue to monitor the area. ” Despite the court ruling, small units are activated from time to time during the day in the field entrusted the owner of a store near the controversial construction site. An irregularity also noted by Business News during a trip to the area on the morning of June 8th.

Since the development of El Menzah 9 in the 80s and 90s, the area, which is the subject of controversy, has been abandoned by the town hall for garbage and stray dogs being shot dead at night. A land abandoned by that which cannot be built according to the settlement plan. The residents of the district have always called for the construction of a fitness trail, a green zone. Today, his calling has changed without anyone knowing how. It will be a commercial area.

When analysts of the Tunisian question see the shacks selling tobacco and smuggled goods appear like mushrooms on the sidewalks, they must face the facts: Tunisia’s business model is mainly focused on the development of cafeterias and “Akcheek”!

At a time when many see the town hall services filling the holes in the roads with sand and gravel, the residents of El Menzah 9 see themselves confiscating a piece of land from strangers in the municipality, all with the active help of the town hall, trying to escape in front .

Sofiene Ahres

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