HARARE - The Welshman Ncube-led MDC yesterday condemned the demolition of homes along Airport Road in Harare by the mainstream MDC-run Harare City Council in cahoots with government.
The smaller opposition party contended that such a move amounted to forced displacement and would only heighten tensions.
The MDC statement came days after bulldozers started demolishing illegally-built houses around the Airport Road — years after the authorities first ordered that they be knocked down.
There have been numerous orders to demolish them, but they have been impeded by a mixture of red tape, procrastination and administrative in-fighting.
The fact that some of the big houses were allegedly the property of Zanu PF-supporting families also acted as a powerful disincentive to take action.
Last week, however, the bulldozers were finally sent in, starting a long-overdue demolition campaign by destroying the homes in front of an illegally-built residence.
Kurauone Chihwayi, spokesperson of the Ncube-led MDC, said the settlement was a result of vote buying and self-enriching shenanigans of Zanu PF land barons, contending the demolitions were a violation of citizens’ fundamental rights to life, dignity, property, due process and shelter as guaranteed by the Zimbabwean Constitution.
“As MDC, we condemn this forced displacement of people without provision of alternative shelter or compensation as it runs counter to government’s obligations to prevent unnecessary suffering and tension among its citizens,” he said.
Authorities claim the displaced are being resettled in Stoneridge farm.
“We hope the people of Zimbabwe can see clearly for themselves the true colours of Zanu PF, that it sees the ordinary people as invisible, expendable and not to be taken seriously,” Chihwayi said.
“It is unfortunate that these demolitions do not only erase homes but livelihoods of hundreds of people and have far-reaching psychological, health and financial implications on the affected families. ”
The demolitions come as the Meteorological Services Department has forecast flash floods this week.
“It is clear to us that Zanu PF and the MDC-T are engaged in an unholy alliance to escalate the suffering of the people while they loot and apportion themselves land and stands desperately needed by the masses,” Chihwayi said.