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Harare Council to begin “cleanup campaign” next
Karimakwenda, SW Radio Africa
November 01, 2013
Harare residents have
expressed deep concern at a so-called “cleanup campaign”
announced by the City Council on Thursday, fearing many people will
be displaced and thousands will lose their livelihood.
According to The Daily
News newspaper, Harare town clerk Tendai Mahachi told reporters
at Town House that a clean-up operation will begin November 4th
in ward 3 Mbare, targeting “not only the filth and litter
contaminating the area”, but also “illegal structures”.
immediately evoked memories of the disastrous “Operation
Murambatsvina” that displaced nearly one million people
in 2005, judging from comments posted online by Zimbabweans.
Mahachi is quoted as
saying: “We will be cleaning up illegal structures so where
ever we go in terms of wards in Harare, we will also be doing the
same thing because these structures make our city untidy.”
But a former MDC-T legislator
for the area said this pending “cleanup” is not about
tidiness or prevention of disease, but simply Zanu-PF getting rid
of people that they allowed to build there in the period leading
to elections, in order to boost the party’s support base in
former MDC-T MP for Mbare, told SW Radio Africa that when
he won that seat in 2008, he saw Zanu-PF remove people to whom
they had allocated illegal stands ahead of that election because
they were no longer needed. They allocated stands again ahead of
this year’s poll to boost support in the area.
seen so many shacks and corner shops being constructed and allocated
to Zanu-PF supporters just for them to build
up towards the 2013 elections. Now I hear they want to clean
garbage and remove illegal structures. It’s a political gimmick
because they used the people. Now the elections are over,”
Asked why people still
allow themselves to be used by Zanu-PF in a political game that
has been exposed with every election, Denga said: “Zimbabweans
are very patient and at times very desperate so they will rush for
any piece of land because they are hungry for space to lay their
SW Radio Africa’s
correspondent Simon Muchemwa also explained that the “chaotic
allocation of land was a tactical move by Zanu-PF ahead of elections.”
“There were people
receiving land from Zanu-PF before elections, and this was done
to increase voting numbers. In Mount Pleasant, Hatcliffe and Harare
South for example, the voting patterns in the elections were made
possible by the allocation of stands,” Muchemwa reported.
Meanwhile, the Local
Government minister Ignatius Chombo, who himself has been investigated
and accused of involvement in illegal land deals around Harare,
is reported to have supported the so-called cleanup.
to the Daily News, Chombo warned “those who build their structures
on land that was illegally acquired” to “remove them
before the authorities demolish the structures”.
is the state of affairs in Chitungwiza municipal area and Seke communal
lands, to the extent that residential stands are being arbitrarily
and illegally parcelled out everywhere including in wetlands, along
power lines, cemeteries, pastures and land zoned out for other uses,”
Chombo reportedly said.
That statement may signal
the extension of this cleanup campaign to areas outside Harare,
fuelling fears of yet another Murambatsvina.
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