Rights body probes Harare demolitions

via Rights body probes Harare demolitions – New Zimbabwe 27/09/2015

THE Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) has instituted a probe into the demolition of people’s houses as well as the eviction and confiscation of vendors’ wares by the Harare City Council.

At least three thousand families in Caledonia were two weeks ago left homeless after the Council demolished their homes.

A similar development happened last month in Glen Norah, Budiriro and Westlea after the local authority demolished people’s dwellings saying the structures were built on illegal sites.

Close to a thousand families were left homeless in the process.

All the demolitions were conducted without court orders thereby breaching the constitution which says government should seek for permission from the courts when evicting citizens.

The constitution also says government and the local authorities must find alternative location for people it would want to evict, compensate and provide security for them before carrying out the demolitions.

“In fact, the process to engage stakeholders as well as investigate the matter has started and we have met with the minister of local government (Saviour Kasukuwere) as part of the process,” ZHRC chairperson Elasto Mugwadi told the state media.

Harare municipal police confiscated vendors’ wares worth hundreds of thousands of dollars and handed them over to the First lady Grace Mugabe who publicly announced that she was going to donate them.

Mugwadi said if the investigations prove that there were human rights violations in the cases under probe the aggrieved should be compensated.

“It is important to note that after the investigations we make recommendations to appropriate bodies for resolutions of complaints made.

“In the event of monetary awards for compensation enforcement comes through the court after registration of such awards through the High Court,” said Mugwadi.

The ZHRC has previously carried out several investigations and asked the police to prosecute perpetrators of such violations but nothing has so far been done.