HARARE - Government’s plans to demolish houses in Chitungwiza faces stiff resistance as residents in Seke Unit ‘O’ Extension have vowed to strongly resist any such move.
This follows a consultative meeting held on Friday.
Recent findings from the Matiza report laying bare massive corruption activities by political heavyweights, council executives and greedy businesspeople in the cash-strapped town have received mixed reactions from both residents and council.
“We are more than prepared to die for our houses just as others died for this country,” said an irate former councillor in the area.
Friday’s meeting arranged by Chitungwiza Residents Association to address residents’ concerns following the release of a report recommending the demolition of about 14 000 houses was also attended by the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.
The meeting was attended by more than 200 residents, who are victims of the land scam mainly perpetrated by housing cooperatives and now face an uncertain future as details of when and how they will be compensated for their losses remain sketchy.
Prominent human rights lawyer Jeremiah Mutongi Bamu allayed the residents’ fears by pointing to the need for a court order to effect the findings.
“Our Constitution clearly states that there is need for a court order to enforce the demolitions.”
“Minister Chombo has no right or power to implement the decision without a court order,” said the lawyer to the applause of residents.
Bamu advised the residents to approach his organisation through their represantatives.
However, mayor Phillip Mutoti believes this week’s release of the long-awaited Chitungwiza housing probe report finally frees council to vigorously pursue its mandate of professionally running the town.
“The matter had consummated itself into a legal row and our hands were now tied as we had to wait for the minister to take corrective action and at the same time we felt for the affected residents.
“We are happy that the report tore into corrupt activities of past council officials and we hope that this will curtail such malpractises so that we concentrate on improving service delivery,” he said.
Though the mayor was relieved that affected residents will benefit from their relocation to Dunnotar Farm near Nyatsime, he also took time to warn residents against falling prey to similar scams.
The report clearly singled out the United We Stand Multipurpose Cooperative owner Frederick Mabamba as the chief culprit.
Mabamba was recently suspended by Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo from council.