Disabled tenants evicted from Leonard Cheshire Home

HARARE - The High Court sheriff yesterday evicted 17 people living with disabilities from the Leonard Cheshire Home in Harare’s Avenues area.

The eviction concluded a two-decade legal battle over occupation of the home, established by the Leonard Cheshire Disability Global Alliance in the 80s.

Evicted residents described the expulsion as “evil”, since they had nowhere to go.

In the case between Leornard Cheshire Home Zimbabwe Central Trust and the residents, the High Court in February ruled: “The judgment of the court a quo be and is hereby set aside and substituted with the following order as prayed for: the defendants and all persons claiming occupation through them shall vacate the property known as stand 1673 Salisbury Township community known as 85 Baines Avenue Harare.”
Early March, the sheriff sent a notice of seizure and attachment ordering the 17 to vacate the premises, but failed to do so after noting their plight.

“The first notice we were given had a 48-hour ultimatum and they failed to evict us, and then on this one, there was no
notice,” one of the residents, Stephen Pamuke, told the Daily News.

“What do they expect us to do? They are saying they will accommodate us at Ruwa Rehabilitation Centre, which is a dormitory.
“It’s a school and at the moment, the school children are away on holiday. And when they come back, where are we going to go? They are just chasing us away from here, there are no proper plans.

“At the moment I do not need help getting around this place, but I’m not even sure of the conditions at the place where we are going, how we are going to cope there? We are just being uprooted from here and thrown away.
“I have a family. How are we going to fit in that dormitory compartment? We do not need rehabilitation, we came from several rehabilitation centres to this home, we are products of those rehabilitation centres and we moved to this place which is a home. Where are those board members, and of which organisation?

“Leonard Cheshire’s goals are being destroyed because of selfish reasons.”
Another resident, Artmore Dembezeko, who had been staying at the home for the past 17 years, vowed he was not going anywhere.

“I am not even sure how I am going to survive; I am hurt that someone can do this to us. Most of the people here do not work, so I don’t know, how we are going to survive? I don’t know where I am going, we are here there is nowhere else we can go. I have been staying here for 17 years,” he said.

One of the Cheshire Home board members, only identified as Banda, declined to comment.

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