The Nelson Chamisa led MDC Alliance has released the following statement condemning the demolition of houses in Harare by The Harare City Council. Read the full statement below which notes that the demolitions during the rainy season are a heartless act and a directive from the government:
The MDC Alliance condemns the callous, disproportionate demolitions of homes that are currently being carried out by Central Government, in particular the Ministry of Local Government – Mr July Mayo, the Provincial Minister – Mr Oliver Chidawu and the Provincial Development Co-ordinator – Mr Tafadzwa Muguti. The demolitions have resulted in people losing their homes, savings and their only available shelter in the middle of the rainy season. Families with young children, the old and the infirm have been rendered homeless by this heartless act.
Before his arrest two weeks ago, the Mayor of Harare, Councillor Jacob Mafume ordered a stop to all demolitions. He protested against the grossly unreasonable timing of the demolitions and in view of the wet season and the ongoing Covid19 pandemic. He stated that the execution of any court orders held by Council should be carried out in a humane manner and that Council should weigh in favour of regularizing settlements as opposed to destroying them. We are of the firm view that most of the houses being destroyed can be regularized and should therefore not be destroyed.
At the centre of the crisis are Zanu PF land barons and illegal co-operatives whose corrupt conduct has led to the arbitrary allocation of land in a manner that does not comply with council by-laws. The current demolitions have been triggered by Zanu PF in-fighting where urban land is being used as an election tool as well as a sword against those who have fallen out of favour with the system. Unsuspecting members of the public and bona fide buyers who have been duped by the land barons and are left to bear the brunt of the illegality.
Additionally, it is reported that the Provincial Minister for Harare, Mr Oliver Chidawu has an interest in the demolition of houses because a large section of the land which the Zanu PF land barons and co-operatives raided belongs to him. The Provincial Minister took advantage of the absence of the Mayor over the last fortnight to push council staff to execute the demolitions.
We demand an immediate end to the demolitions as they are anti-poor and their timing is causing untold suffering and indignity to people who are already victims of corrupt land barons. We further demand and end to Central Government interference in the affairs of the City of Harare. The Harare -263 774 751 446 Provincial Minstry most stop giving unlawful instructions to council staff, particularly when this causes loss and harm to the people whom council are meant to serve.
We call for the urgent implementation of the devolution clauses in the Constitution and reform to the Urban Councils Act to enable local authorities to serve the people without interference from Central Government.
Sesel Zvidzai Secretary for Local Government
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