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accused of betrayal as demolitions begin
Tererai Karimakwenda, SW Radio Africa
November 07, 2013
View this article
on the SW Radio Africa website
of tuck shops and residential structures got underway in Ruwa and
Damofalls on Wednesday, under the watchful eye of the riot police,
as victims accused the local government of betrayal.
condemnation from civil society and residents’ groups concerned
with the welfare of families, bulldozers tore down structures as
ordered by Local Government Minster Ignatius Chombo.
And on Thursday
in Harare, the police are reported to have confiscated goods from
informal traders and detained some street vendors in the city centre.
Government had already warned that the so-called cleanup would expand
to other urban areas.
it is Chombo himself who is being accused of illegally allocating
land to gain support for Zanu-PF ahead
of the July 31st elections, land on which these so-called illegal
structures were built. The party ‘won’ legislative seats
in traditionally MDC-T constituencies, fuelling debate as to why
they are now evicting innocent families.
SW Radio Africa
correspondent Simon Muchemwa, who witnessed the Ruwa demolitions
Wednesday, said the Goromonzi Rural District Council has been officially
billing residents with tuck shops on their properties at $30 per
were being billed as part of their rates just like water and refuse.
Council officials also visited the tuck shops regularly and demanded
bribes of between $50 up to $100 every time. So the Council regularized
these businesses,” Muchemwa said.
issued to the Local Government Ministry by the Zimbabwe
Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), demanding that government honor
the basic rights of individuals.
the Minister that the pending evictions violate several of the key
protective provisions, such as the right to shelter and freedom
from arbitrary eviction, which are protected under the new constitution,”
said Kumbirai Mafunda, Communications officer for the lawyers group.
SW Radio Africa that they have asked the Local Government ministry
to explain how long the cleanup campaign will take, how many families
and children will be left without shelter as a result and what measures
they are taking to protect them before rolling out the campaign.
fail to give people alternative accommodation, we have told them
they cannot carry out this exercise without a court order, as provided
for under section 74of the new constitution of Zimbabwe. It says
no person may be evicted from their home or have it demolished without
a court order,” Mafunda explained.
warning other areas to prepare for the same, Zanu-PF supporters
in Chitungwiza took to the streets Wednesday to protest the pending
the Daily News, the demonstrators marched from the Council’s
head office to a venue where the deputy minister for Local Government,
Joel Biggie Matiza, was addressing residents on the evictions. But
Matiza reportedly stood his ground and insisted the demolitions
In a statement
on Thursday, the Heal Zimbabwe Trust said: “The demolition
of structures, such as informal business which have become a source
of income for many, goes against the empowerment drive which the
same Government talks about.”
The group blasted
the Ministry of Local Government and Chombo for spearheading the
demolitions, saying: “The directive reminds Zimbabweans and
the world at large, of the infamous Operation
Murambatsvina that took place in 2005 at the instigation of
The 2005 campaign
displaced nearly one million people, destroying businesses, churches,
orphanages and clinics. Heal Zimbabwe said they “castigate
in the strongest of terms the abrupt manner in which the process
intends to proceed with no clear alternative plan”.
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