THE recent demolition of houses of more than 200 families in Epworth has exposed Zanu PF as a party that abuses poor and desperate citizens for political gain.
Report by Jennifer Dube
The families bought the residential stands from local Zanu PF officials who assured them that they would not be displaced.
The people, most of them surviving on hand-to-mouth, forked out amounts that ranged from US$300 to US$1 000, depending on size of their stands.
But they were recently left stranded after owners of the land, Sunway City, a subsidiary of the Industrial Development Corporation of Zimbabwe, destroyed their homes.
The company had won a High Court order to evict the residents, as they had unlawfully settled on land reserved for light industries.
Harare councillors and the Harare Residents’ Trust (HRT) have warned that the same fate awaits thousands of other families “squatting” in areas around the capital at the instigation of Zanu PF, which is seeking for votes.
“The nation has to come together to ensure that housing delivery is prioritised, that political parties have no business in setting up housing co-operatives, as what has happened in Harare, where politicians are abusing supporters,” said HRT director, Precious Shumba.
While sympathising with Epworth families, Shumba said the victims had themselves to blame.
“Epworth victims were fully aware (that they were being illegally settled), but chose to listen to their political handlers, who knew exactly what they were doing to these people,” said Shumba.
“They have no one to blame but themselves. they could have easily approached the Epworth local board for clarification before they constructed their houses.”
Shumba said home-seekers must understand the national housing policy and respect by-laws to avoid being misled by politicians who take advantage of people’s desperation and ignorance.
Unauthorised settlements included the Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo Housing Cooperative in Kambuzuma, where people whose houses were demolished in the 2005 under Operation Murambatsvina have resumed building.
There is no council resolution approving the construction, the councillors said.
Other controversial settlements include Tongogara (also known as Whitecliff), Ushewokunze, and Caledonia.