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Demolition of houses in Chitungwiza
Chitungwiza Residents Trust (CHITREST)
November 13, 2013

The statement by Local Government, Public Works and National Housing deputy minister Hon. Joel Biggie Matiza that “there is no going back on demolition of illegal structures” is pre-mature and ill-advised since the commission investigating Chitungwiza and Seke Rural has not yet completed its work. Chitungwiza Residents’ Trust (CHITREST) can confirm that the investigation commission has requested for an extension of its stay from the responsible minister, Hon. Ignatius Chombo who has since granted the extension.

A full council meeting was held today by the city fathers of Chitungwiza where the town clerk, Mr. George Makunde announced the ministerial directive to extend the duration of the commission’s work by 14 days. This was just a briefing to the councillors since they are not allowed to debate any ministerial directive.

We are concerned by the inconsistencies being shown by some Ministers in this new government. Hon. Matiza’s statements are not in tandem with those of Hon. Minister Chikukwa and Hon. Deputy Minister Tendai Savanhu who are on record as having said that no house will be demolished by government. The position the government that the so-called illegal structures will be demolished and then new houses built for the victims is tantamount to promising building bridges were there are no rivers since this is coming from a government which has no budget for 2014 and is also failing to adequately remunerate its civil servants, let alone pay them their annual bonuses.

The huge burden of financing the activities and allowances of this bloated commission is being borne by the ratepayers through their hard-earned and scarce US dollars. Each of the 16 commissioners is getting around US$900 per day, meaning that council is losing close to US$15 000 per day towards this exercise yet it is sitting on a salary backlog of close to a year.

We therefore demand that the government revises its priorities and focus on key developmental issues which include areas such as health, education, resuscitation of industry and infrastructural development rather than majoring on minor political issues.

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