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Chitungwiza residents maintain a zero tolerance stance to
house demolitions, as they agree to approach the courts
Residents Trust (CHITREST)
December 14, 2013
Residents Trust (CHITREST) in its ongoing effort to avert government
pronounced ‘illegal’ house demolitions yesterday successfully
created a platform at Unit O in Seke, Chitungwiza in partnership
Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) to educate and sensitize Chitungwiza
and Seke rural residents on their rights, particularly the right
Bamu, a prominent human rights lawyer working with the ZLHR meticulously
walked a gathering of about 500 residents through the new constitution
explicitly elaborating that shelter is a fundamental human right
enshrined in the country’s supreme law. He was categorically
clear that even in the preamble and the founding rights of the Zimbabwe
constitution, no space is given for the retrogressive house demolitions.
While he reminded
anxious residents that the right to shelter should be read in light
of other laws, for example, the Public Health Act and the Regional
Town and Country Planning Act, Mr. Bamu still maintained that
government should brace up for a thorough legal process if it is
entertaining any hopes of house demolitions. He said this process
involves approaching the courts to seek approval to demolish houses
and if granted by a magistrate, demolition orders are served to
each of the concerned individuals and families who enjoy the right
to appeal against that order. If eventually any house is to be condemned
to rubbles, occupants need to be compensated by the government and
can ONLY move out of their condemned place if alternative accommodation
After a full explanation
of the legal terrain vis-à-vis illegal house demolitions
by the ZLHR, residents unanimously called for public litigation
and encouraged CHITREST to maintain the symbiotic bond with the
ZLHR in the fight against the illegal house demolitions.
In his closing remarks
at the half-day workshop, CHITREST Board Treasurer, Mr. Brighton
Mazhindu, reaffirmed the residents’ pressure group’s
unwavering stance that house demolitions in any part of the world
are illegal, inhumane, barbaric and as such should not be tolerated.
Mr. Mazhindu's call for the two local authorities (Chitungwiza and
Manyame Rural District councils) which slept on duty to regularize
all residential properties received a thunderous applause from the
residents in attendance. He also warned the government against any
illegal attempt to demolish houses mostly considering that the Chimowa-led
investigation team did not fully consult the concerned residents
as per the dictates of participatory democracy.
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