By Lloyd Takawira
Incensed by the on-going demolition of illegal structures in Harare Province, residents lobby group, Combined Harare Residents Association has called on the government to follow the law and desist from human rights violations .
In a statement CHRA said governmment should desist from acting as both referee and player when effecting demolitions as this fuels corruption, maladministration and weakens accountability.
“The demolitions that were carried out in Mbare last weekend clearly show that there is no will to follow the law and the constitution by both the central government and the City of Harare”.
The residents said that government ignored a court order halting the demolitions which had been secured by Chitungwiza Residents Trust (CHITREST).
“Apart from the standing Court Order obtained by CHITREST on behalf of Chitungwiza and Harare residents, government and Harare City Council went on to demolish informal sector structures in Mbare…Section 162 of the Constitution vests judicial authority in the courts and the role of the courts is paramount in safeguarding human rights and freedoms and the rule of law…Constitutional adherence and compliance is fundamental for our local government system to promote local economic development.”
The residents said the demolitions were a clear violation of human rights .
“We assert that any demolition that has the potential to violate human rights should be accompanied by a High Court Order as provided by the Constitution of Zimbabwe”
According to CHRA , the illegal structures are a manifestation of the rampant corrupt activities by the same councils destroying them.
“The current mess affecting the planning of our City, which has seen sprouting of “illegal” car sales, tuck shops, houses on wetlands is a result of corrupt elements within the government, local authorities and political parties hence demolishing these structures without Court orders will protect and benefit these elements while impoverishing the victims…We call upon the depoliticisation of the informal and housing sectors as this has created a high level of lawlessness and corruption in these key sectors.”.
Despite residents outcry ,Harare Provincial Development Coordinator, Tafadzwa Muguti , has warned of more demolitions.
“An interdict is not a judgement to stop us from enforcing the law and in this case they (Chitrest) were mischievous in that they used the Regional Town Planning Act. We are going to wait for 30 days and we are resuming,” he said.