via Demolitions start in Harare November 7, 2013 by Moses Matenga NewsDay
GOVERNMENT yesterday started demolishing illegally built housing structures including tuck-shops in Ruwa and Damofalls warning that the programme would be rolled out in all urban centres throughout the country.
In Chitungwiza, Zanu PF supporters yesterday demonstrated against the impending demolition of illegal structures in the town. The party supporters, most of whom benefited from illegal land deals engineered by party leaders, said the demolitions constituted an abuse of human rights.
According to Ruwa and Damofalls residents, riot police were keeping a watchful eye while the demolitions were taking place.
A resident, Denford Muchada said: “In Ruwa, they are demolishing all tuck-shops and they are saying they will not listen to what people are saying. Now they are going to Damofalls.”
An MDC-T Ruwa councilor, who declined to be named, said the demolitions had affected most parts of the high-density areas.
“This is the same madness of 2005. They say it was a directive from the minister. This was against the wish of councillors,” the MDC-T councillor said.
Police national spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba said she was out of office and had not yet received information on the reported demolitions.
However, Ruwa town chairperson Phineas Mushayavanhu confirmed the demolitions, but distanced his council from the destruction.
“They demolished the structures. Riot police came and demolished the structures. It was an order from central government and we are told it’s going to affect all the towns. They started with Ruwa and went to Damofalls, road by road,” Mushayavanhu said.
“As council, we are against the idea of the demolition of the structures without providing alternative accomodation. It’s a government programme that we are being forced into.”
Zanu PF supporters in Chitungwiza, apart from staging demonstrations in protest against the demolitions, threatened to take legal action if the Zanu PF government carried out its threat in the town.
The demonstrators marched from the town council’s head office to Unit L where Local Government deputy minister Joel Biggie Matiza was addressing residents over the matter and later regrouped at the party offices in Zengeza 4.
In separate interviews, the Zanu PF members said instead of victimising them for supporting the party, government should concentrate on addressing the health crisis in Chitungwiza where shortage of water and flowing sewage posed a health time bomb in the sprawling city.
“We benefited in these projects from Zanu PF leaders in the area including Fraderick Mabamba (who won a council seat on a Zanu PF ticket) and now for them to turn against us, we feel betrayed,” a Zanu PF youth who was part of the demonstrators said.
Chitungwiza Residents Trust (Chitrest) said it was not proper for government to demolish houses without providing alternative accommodation.
“We shall, therefore ,approach the courts for litigation and mobilise our structures as well as other stakeholders to be alert and on guard,” Chitrest said in a statement.
Matiza reiterated that the government would not relent on its decision to demolish illegal structures in the dormitory town.
The MDC-T condemned the demolitions in a statement saying it was insensitive.