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Epworth demolitions: Lessons to learn for residents
Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA)
October 25, 2012

The recent demolition of houses belonging to more than 200 families in Epworth comes as an eye opener for residents. This comes in light of a spate of incidences which have seen ZANU PF politicians and thugs misleading residents that they can arrange for stands and houses if they join the former ruling party. Whilst CHRA sees no problem in politicians making an effort to improve people's livelihoods, it becomes inhuman for politicians to politic with people's property, houses and livelihoods.

Recently, Epworth witnessed the demolition of more than 200 households and it is alleged that these people had been instructed to construct structures by ZANU PF conmen. Sunway City, a government subsidiary company destroyed the homes without ample notice given to the families because the company was armed with a court order. This unfortunate event comes at a time when the country has entered the rainy season and to date no meaningful alternative accommodation has been organised for these families; just a symbol of how insensitive ZANU PF politicians can be.

The recent demolitions coupled with those witnessed in past years pretty much expose the lack of a solid and sound housing policy which caters for all classes of people in our society. In 2006, Operation Murambatsvina saw hundreds of thousands of people being displaced and promised better accommodation through operation Hlalani kuhle. What then followed was a political party driven relocation process which immensely benefited ZANU PF big-wigs and supporters elbowing out those that were evicted. The current housing policy allows many bogus land developers who are on a rampage of constructing houses on wetlands and land that is not cleared by council. Some stands are being distributed to people along political lines yet the land in question has not been fully developed and serviced to pave way for water and sewer reticulation. This in turn has seen illegal water connections which have further burdened Harare City Council which already is struggling to provide water to its residents.

The Ministry of housing should come up with a housing policy which ensures that everyone gets a proper roof above their head and avert situations where politicians masquerade as housing officials who can parcel out land in abundance to those that support them. City of Harare housing department need to properly carry out an audit of all the land available and engage real land developers and clear the housing waiting list. Government must unfreeze the CABS deal which is set to benefit residents of Budiriro and politicians must not interfere with the Bill and Melinda Gates housing project that has been set to benefit Dzivarasekwa.

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