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yet another Murambatsvina
Tendai Kamhungira, Daily News
November 11, 2013
Fear has gripped
Harare residents as government’s planned
demolition of illegal structures in the capital begins tomorrow.
the onset of the rainy season, authorities will on Tuesday be moving
in to clear slums across Harare, where 4 million people live.
Since last week,
the operation to clear slums, which started in Ruwa, has met with
Many of the
slum dwellers have dug their heels in and responded furiously against
Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) has said the events are part
of an unfortunate pattern in Zimbabwe and has urged the authorities
to stop this act of war and threatened to sue Ignatius Chombo, the
Local Government minister, if he forges ahead with the exercise.
the Harare town clerk, confirmed the demolitions will begin tomorrow
and will be targeting tuckshops, unplanned buildings and all other
structures that are illegal.
further questions to Leslie Gwindi, the Harare City Council spokesperson,
whose mobile phone was unreachable.
that the exercise is set to begin tomorrow, Kumbirai Mafunda, the
ZLHR spokesperson, told the Daily News that legal action will be
taken early this week, if government remained defiant on its planned
last week, the human rights organisation wrote to Chombo, demanding
that he stops the demolitions forthwith.
The rights lawyers
gave Chombo a 72-hour ultimatum
for him to reverse the decision - which he has failed to comply
with - after noting provisions of the new Constitution
which makes the demolitions illegal.
Section 74 of
the new Constitution states that: “No person may be evicted
from their home, or have their home demolished, without an order
of court made after considering all the relevant circumstances.”
Trust (HRT) director, condemned the planned destruction of illegal
we are saddened that the government has taken this drastic stance
on illegal housing settlements, when it is common knowledge that
these housing developments were being undertaken by known Zanu-PF
officials and MDC councillors and very corrupt council officials,”
He said officials
had allocated homeless residents stands in violation of the Regional
Town and Council Planning Act and the Urban
He said the
issue was not about the timing of the demolitions, but the continued
abuse of authority.
is mostly shocking to HRT and most likely to other civil society
organisations is the inability of central government to enforce
provisions of the planning laws, government housing developments
and other planning initiatives,” Shumba said.
of the local authorities have neglected their legal mandate to uproot
all illegal housing developments. The nation has seen the rise and
rise of partisan officials joining hands with corrupt political
leaders to subvert the law.”
by Joel Biggie Matiza, the Local Government deputy minister, that
government would demolish houses built on wetlands and on top of
sewer mains, the authorities seem hell-bent on unfurling the campaign
is no way we can let a situation where a house is on a wetland,
on top of the sewer system and directly under electric cables,”
Matiza said at a meeting last week.
a danger to residents and their children so we have to re-organise
that. Our duty is to ensure that laws are respected so we will act.”
vocal civil society is outraged at the planned action and have condemned
the operation, criticism even seems to herald right from the highest
echelons of the Zimbabwean government.
a minister of State for Harare Province, has called for cool heads
saying government should not treat people like “animals.”
It is feared
clashes could break out as bulldozers roll-in tomorrow to clear
the illegal structures in a move that echoes the widely-condemned
opposition MDC condemned the Ruwa demolitions last week, which it
noted violated the people’s constitutional right to shelter.
party strongly condemns this callous move by the controversially
elected Zanu-PF government especially during the rainy season,”
the MDC said in a statement.
this happens at a time when over 40 percent of the adult population
has no personal residential properties, while the tuckshops have
become the only source of income for most residents who have no
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