It's yet another Murambatsvina

HARARE - Fear has gripped Harare residents as government’s planned demolition of illegal structures in the capital begins tomorrow.

Coinciding with 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 widespread opposition.

Many of the slum dwellers have dug their heels in and responded furiously  against the operation.

Zimbabwe 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.

Tendai Mahachi, the Harare town clerk, confirmed the demolitions will begin tomorrow and will be targeting tuckshops, unplanned buildings and all other structures that are illegal.

Mahachi referred further questions to Leslie Gwindi, the Harare City Council spokesperson, whose mobile phone was unreachable.

With reports 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 action.

On Wednesday 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.”

Precious Shumba, Harare Residents Trust (HRT) director, condemned the planned destruction of illegal structures.

“As HRT, 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,” Shumba said.

He said officials had allocated homeless residents stands in violation of the Regional Town and Council Planning Act and the Urban Councils Act.

He said the issue was not about the timing of the demolitions, but the continued abuse of authority.

“What 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.

“Most 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.”

With claims 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 tomorrow.

“There 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.

“It’s 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.”

While Zimbabwe’s 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.

Miriam Chikukwa, 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 2005 Operation Murambatsvina.

Morgan Tsvangirai’s opposition MDC  condemned the Ruwa demolitions last week, which it noted violated the people’s constitutional right to shelter.

“The (MDC) party strongly condemns this callous move by the controversially elected Zanu PF government especially during the rainy season,” the MDC said in a statement.

“Sadly, 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 jobs.”

Comments (25)

STANDS FOR SALE 420sqm X2 CONTACT 0772 392 848 - MY PLEA TO THE CURRENT GOVERNMENT IS TO FIND ACCOMODATION FOR THE AFFECTED

CHIDS - 11 November 2013

Democracy

Arnold Mpofu - 11 November 2013

HONDO MAI WONA KANHI IMI VAPAMBE PFUMI HONDOKA YECHIMURENGA, HONOKA YECHI NDUNDUMA. FIRST HEARD THAT SONG IN 1980 AND THOUGHT HALLELUIA HERE COMES THE LIBERATORS NOW WE IS BIENG TROUBLED BY THE SAME. SIS

vhavho - 11 November 2013

get ACCA video lectures 0772104011,b4 murambatsvina sends me rural

Bambo - 11 November 2013

This is hell on earth sure but why?Also are u pple engineers what is wetland, are there no structures built in dams advise these pple? ukanzi uraya amai wotouraya shame

JARICHA - 11 November 2013

Mugabe is finally taking revenge for July 31 urban vote for the MDC-T as he threatened soon after his sham victory speech. Incredibly, the regime has bulldozers for pulling out other people's only known decent means of survival - tuckshops and modest make-shift homes while other priorities are ignored in order to appease Mugabe again since the first Murambatsvina of 2005. Is the European Union supporting the demolitions since it lifted sanctions on the rogue regime? Diplomats accredited to Zimbabwe must protest against the destruction of people's means of survival amidst 95% unemployment and Zanu-PF's scorched earth policy of looting for the road. Mugabe and his regime must be brought before the courts even after his death for crimes against humanity.

Clifford Chitupa Mashiri - 11 November 2013

This is what NIKUV ordered. Zimbabweans must just swallow the bitter medicine in silence just as they accepted the election results!

Lazarus Boorangoma - 11 November 2013

As Zimbabwe turns. Who in the world will take us seriously in the midst of such duplicity, callousness and outright corruption. Politicians, both ZanuPF and MDC made their millions out of the illegal sales of wetlands and other prohibited areas but they are getting a free pass from Chombo and his corrupt municipalities. Name, shame, and prosecute these evil people before you further disadvantage the poor families who were duped into these illegal settlements. For once these greedy people must do the right thing. Who in the world will take Zimbabwe seriously if such corruption and lawlessness continues to flourish unabated. Admit it Zimbabwe is a banana republic.

connie - 11 November 2013

why why why why why why why why why why why????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????//

JAYJAY - 11 November 2013

What a good move by the gvt, pamberi neMurambatsvina 90% OF THIEVES AND RAPIST, CRIMINALS THEY COME FROM THOSE ILLEGAL STRUCTURES. Why not stay at your rural areas where you can't steal beasts because unofa nemisungwa.

reason - 11 November 2013

shame to the ruling party..ndiko kupa vanhu pekugara here as they promised..God may you have mercy upon our leaders and whatever we have done wrong before you may u forgive us Lord..its us the poor who are continuing to suffer..Tichawanawo a discent living wen

waah - 11 November 2013

Indeginise and Empower ,,,,, saka is this wat Zanu promised b4 elections ,,,please Mr Chombo this is not the way to go , pple have suffered in ths country , you shld be focusing on building houses for pple rather than destroying ,,,,, aaahhh Zim yaka woma!!!!

AKC - 11 November 2013

people should dwell much on making sure that they get paid here on http://www.revenuejob.com/?share=14121

muridzi wenyaya - 11 November 2013

Zanu knows very well that zimbabwens are docile like donkies and they can shiite on them abuse them as they want nothing is going to happen just exactly like one would do to his donkies no resitance at all .Where are the men and women the snake is coming into our houses let us not allow it bite us right in our homes lets deffend our place we call homes by going to courts all stop them phsically this time the world is watching, What they k now is to destroy from shacks to the economy of the land .telling lies is their game what happened to opperation hlalani kahle where are the houses . ZANU PF is possesed with a giant demond, meanwhile mdc must capitalise on this one visit the abuse feel sorry for them and condem this execise .

Dibulaanyika - 11 November 2013

Zanu knows very well that zimbabwens are docile like donkies and they can shiite on them abuse them as they want nothing is going to happen just exactly like one would do to his donkies no resitance at all .Where are the men and women the snake is coming into our houses let us not allow it bite us right in our homes lets deffend our place we call homes by going to courts all stop them phsically this time the world is watching, What they k now is to destroy from shacks to the economy of the land .telling lies is their game what happened to opperation hlalani kahle where are the houses . ZANU PF is possesed with a giant demond, meanwhile mdc must capitalise on this one visit the abuse feel sorry for them and condem this execise .

Dibulaanyika - 11 November 2013

Chinoshamisa ndechokuti Chombo was boss for all counciles during that time, why didn't he stop building of those structure in the first place, than waiting to destory them after residents put their resources painfully. Again why not the coucilors arrested for that corruption. In my opinion demolition should come after firing and arresting the minister and all urban council officials, coz the they're a terrible mess themselves.

pangu - 11 November 2013

mati madiiii?

ZanundeYeMhondi - 11 November 2013

at least those that were supporting zanu pf are reaping what they have been sowing, l feel pity for those who tried to bring a change to this nation, please , please next time in 2018 make sure you vote wisely. Don`t be fooled by these heartless people. Its not even a decade since they last demolished the peoples houses. Chombo do you have a heart, I doubt

tobias - 11 November 2013

Zanu PF supporters they did not see it coming, now they see. Hondo yeminda

PHILLIP - 12 November 2013

Cde Chombo/ Cde Matiza include the Chinese Monstrosity close to National Stadium if the destruction includes structures on wetlands please

Fairness - 12 November 2013

Zanu chiwororo

jacob tavengwa - 12 November 2013

A simple solution to all this: deal with him the way Gadaffi was dealt with. That is the only way to handle a dictator. Learn from the Eygptians as well. Remember Idi Amin.

rose - 13 November 2013

Chombo akanga aripi vanhu vachivaka, he was the minister of local government since 1980. Shame,shame, shame on you chombo and your corrupt municipalities

lolo - 13 November 2013

regai vakadaro kare haagari airi kare ... nerimwe zuva zvichawawanawo

Regai vakadaro - 14 November 2013

This is madness! So common sense would dictate that the Chinese Hotel/Mall along Byo Road should be demolished too because it is on a wetland.

Victory - 16 November 2013

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