Harare, February 09, 2016 – A local group of Non-Governmental Organisations has called on government to stop the unlawful demolition of homes and start observing local and international laws which guarantee the right to shelter.
In a Monday petition to the local government ministry, parliament and the city of Harare, the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, a grouping of 21 rights based NGOs, also called on government to put in place measures to start compensating hundreds of families whose homes were razed down by local authorities past few months.
The NGO Forum said every Zimbabwean has a right to shelter and further called on government to start complying with its own laws which compel the authorities to first obtain court orders before dispatching teams to go and destroy people’s homes.
“We call upon the government to take immediate measures to remedy this violation by ensuring that compensation for the destroyed property is made out as quickly as possible to those who lost their homes and property in the unlawful destruction,” said the NGO Forum.
The rights group also called on the authorities to conduct awareness campaigns to educate the public on the procedures of acquiring land in the country while also ensuring that well connected land barons who duped desperate home seekers of their hard earned money were also brought to book.
The NGO group further called on authorities to provide alternative shelter for affected families.
“The Forum demands the observance of the rule of law, accountability and transparency in allocation of residential land and procedures of purchasing land from the city of Harare and government,” the group said.
“The Forum urges government to ensure that children of affected families and individuals on critical medical programmes are enabled to continue with school and access to medical support respectively.”
The demolition of homes has mostly been witnessed in Harare where families have been left exposed to the elements of the current rain season.
Civic groups and the country’s opposition blame the rot on the Zanu PF led government which has allowed some of its well connected activists to start housing cooperatives on undesignated council and state land.
The settlements, usually on unserviced land, it is further alleged, have allowed the ruling party to settle thousands of its supporters in Harare in a bid to dilute the opposition MDC stronghold.
Zanu PF has, past few years been able to penetrate urban constituencies through the support of some of the people settled on the land.