BY Dr Masimba Mavaza
The President of Zimbabwe has ordered Council to stop razing down houses allegedly built unlawfully across the country after summoning ministers July Moyo and Daniel Garwe, who are responsible for local government and national housing, respectively, to a crisis meeting on Monday.
The command came amid sustained public outcry over the demolitions that have destroyed livelihoods and rendered thousands of people homeless especially in Harare and Melfort, Goromonzi, Mashonaland East province. The president showed that he is as soft as wool and he directed that the demolitions be stopped.
A court ordered demolitions in Melfort on December 4 last year, telling residents and the developer to cease construction and vacate the area. The Goromonzi Rural District Council enforced that judgment last week, pulling down hundreds of houses including fully-fledged mansions.
Zanu PF secretary for administration Obert Mpofu told a news conference in Harare that the ruling party was troubled by what he called the “inhumane ongoing demolitions.”
“There have been ongoing demolitions in Mashonaland East province, Melfort area in the past week and other parts of Harare, which have led to unwarranted loss of shelter and income to the affected families.
“As such the current wanton demolitions in urban and peri-urban areas must stop forthwith, while processes to resolve the associated challenges in motion. An all stakeholders meeting will be convened soon to discuss similar matters in areas affected,” said Mpofu.
The Zanu PF official said in the meeting with Garwe and Moyo, it was discovered “that the developers for Melfort area Mr. Rogers Bote, Arthur Chidene and Life Machingura of Vintage Properties and East Winds Association fraudulently acquired a development permit.”
Instead of the demolitions, Mpofu told journalists that his party wants “regularisation of residential stands across the nation, to mitigate the housing shortages and being undertaken by the ministry of housing.”
Cabinet took up the matter on Tuesday, with sources saying Zanu PF is particularly concerned because some of its officials have residential stands in the Melfort area (see image above).
Party information director Tafadzwa Mugwadi, however, denied the claims saying “that is not the position of the party, Zanu PF does not have or is involved in any way in Melfort land processes.”
He added: “There are individuals in their own capacity who are involved in the stands procedure after they see an opportunity. Zanu PF is not in any way involved.” ■