via Chombo remarks nonsensical, say residents – DailyNews Live by Albert Masaka 13 APRIL 2014
Residents have vowed to ignore government’s three-week ultimatum to demolish their houses built on undesignated sites dismissing the minister’s warning as nonsensical.
Irate residents have vowed not to relocate until the police arrest land barons who sold them the houses.
This also comes in the wake of a public attack on Local government minister Ignatius Chombo on the State’s failure to provide housing for the youth by Zanu PF youth leader Innocent Hamandishe at a meeting held in the town last week.
The fire-brand central committee member, also fingered in a government audit report on the land allocation scam in Chitungwiza — although admitting that what the youths did was illegal — blamed government for fits failure to provide them with housing.
The Chitungwiza Residents Trust (Chitrest), which has since taken the demolition issue to court, said Chombo should act responsibly and give room for the courts to professionally deal with the issue “in a fair and transparent manner without any duress and prejudice”.
“We pray that Dr Chombo realises the inconvenience that his threats might have caused to the residents of Chitungwiza and Manyame rural. We also implore on him to issue a public apology or otherwise withdraw his statement forthwith,” Chitrest said in a statement.
The residents’ rights group said no amount of threats, be it political or otherwise, will derail its efforts to lawfully defend the lifetime investments of the residents of Chitungwiza and Manyame rural.
Chitrest said Section 74 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe gives any person freedom from arbitrary eviction which reads; “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.”
The civic group said the constitutional provision “does not in any way whatsoever suggest that a political directive will deprive anyone of his or her freedom from arbitrary eviction. It is against this background and the Trust’s respect for the rule of law, that we dismiss the minister’s remarks as nonsensical. His duty as a government official is to uphold the provision of the supreme law of the country.”
Also, Chitungwiza Residents Association leader Arthur Taderera said they were skeptical of the motive behind Chombo’s ultimatum.
“While we agree that the settlements are illegal and should be demolished, the government is not sincere when it says residents should first demolish their houses before being allocated new stands.
“How can one first demolish their house when they see the criminals who scammed them freely roaming around the town.
“These people who sold State land should be arrested first for us to see that this is not just a smokescreen,” Taderera said.