‘Vindictive’ ZANU PF offers no alternatives for pending demolitions

via ‘Vindictive’ ZANU PF offers no alternatives for pending demolitions | SW Radio Africa by Tererai Karimakwenda  November 21, 2013

The Ministry of Local Government has no plan in place to assist Harare residents whose homes and businesses will soon be demolished, according to a legislator who described the pending ‘cleanup’ campaign as “vindictive”.

The deputy Local Government Minister confirmed on Wednesday that the demolition of structures built illegally in Harare will begin soon, after an ongoing audit of properties in the capital is completed in the next couple of weeks. But he did not spell out what government plans to do with those residents facing evictions.

Joel Biggie Matiza, the deputy to Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo, tackled questions from legislators during question time in parliament, and was grilled on what alternatives are being planned for those who were allowed to build on illegal sites.

Matiza spelled out clear examples of situations considered “illegal” by the Ministry. He is quoted as saying: “Government will not tolerate people staying in wetlands; government will not tolerate people staying on top of sewer lines. Government will never, never tolerate people building on school sites”.

But when MDC-T MP for Kuwadzana, Willas Madzimure, asked what alternative plans are in place for displaced residents, Matiza simply said: “We have come up with a programme where we did meet the people who are affected. We have met them and we have told them what we want to do and they fully understand.”

Matiza provided no other details regarding this “programme”, which was dismissed as “vindictive” by MP Madzimure.

“ZANU PF has no alternative plan because ZANU PF is a broke government which has no money at all. What they are doing to try and appear to be correcting wrongdoings,” Madzimure told SW Radio Africa on Thursday.

He added: “All the people who are said to be the illegally settled were put in those places by ZANU PF. And ZANU PF officials are the people who have been benefitting from them, parceling out land and asking people to pay for it when the land was not actually allocated by the City of Harare.”

Madzimure explained that this is not the first time that ZANU PF has victimized people in this way. He pointed to the government’s Operation Murambatsvina, a so-called cleanup campaign that displaced nearly one million people in 2005.

According to Madzimure, nearly 300,000 structures were destroyed and only 10,000 houses have been built so far to accommodate those displaced people.

“This is ZANU PF, they are vindictive. And after having settled those people there before the election, whatever they do now is being fully vindictive.”

The cleanup campaign was due to start in Harare last week but government suspended it for a period of two months, following strong outcry from residents, civil groups and ZANU PF supporters who benefitted from illegal land allocations.

But sadly, bulldozers had already demolished more than 200 tuckshops and houses destroyed in Runyararo, Zimre and Damofalls.