LEAD position on demolitions of illegal structures
By Linda Masarira
Over the years Zimbabwe has become accustomed to demolition of illegal structures decades after their erection. It is unfortunate that the local authorities and government hasn’t paid sincere attention to the plea of the ordinary person in regard to micro business operation spaces and housing.
It seems like the people’s concerns are alien to the elitist people in governance positions in urban local authorities and government.
The desire for a lawful and orderly society has clouded the minds of national leaders and politicians that they have with all due respect forgotten the reasons for Chimurenga Liberation struggle.
The wish of owning means of production whilst leaving decent livelihoods was the key reason why the gallant sons and daughters of this land sacrificed their lives in pursuit of Zimbabwe’s independence.
What independence do we talk about when the ordinary person is still not independent in terms of operating business of choice in our highly informal economy so as to sustain livelihoods.
There is no independence as long as the native Zimbabwean is still not yet owning the means of production.
Laws should protect the people of Zimbabwe and create an enabling environment for wealth creation. Unfortunately we are still using a colonial system & colonial laws which are repressive, suppressive and oppressive 41 years after independence.
Government at national, provincial and local level has totally failed to provide a basic legal framework that ensures organized distribution of resources especially land and a clear economic stimulus for all.
Over the years we have seen the mushrooming of housing settlements which is usually followed by demolitions sanctioned by government orders or court orders.
This is so regardless of the fact that we elect councillors, members of parliament, senators and a national President to run our national agenda in pursuit of citizens’ interest.
We cannot have leaders who are good at politicking whilst doing nothing as far as service delivery is concerned.
Local government has the Constitutional right to supervise the councils. Devolution funds have been availed to build stalls, health services, schools, social amenities, etc.
We demand accountability on how the urban councils have used the devolution funds that have been disbursed to them.
Nearly US$400 million meant for the fixing of roads nationwide was availed but still there’s nothing to show whilst those who are supposed to deliver are busy bickering for political expediency.
Sense of entitlement of breaking the law is associated with the MDC which failed to deliver to their constituents in the urban economy.
Every local authority should have a development control department which enforces development control.
This is the unit that checks illegal buildings, illegal land occupation, illegal structures etc. Deliberately they have all been under funded and not taken seriously.
That is why no one could stop land barons and illegal developments. When it comes to corruption both unethical Zanupf and MdcA people work in cahoots to make quick buck.
We suggest that all those who have been responsible for parceling out stands illegally and collecting rentals from people operating on unauthorized land should face the full wrath of the law.
Our Clarion call is to the Ministry of Local Government to step up and assist Harare City Council and Chitungwiza Town council with funds to build proper manufacturing spaces for those in manufacturing who had their work spaces demolished in Mbare and Chitungwiza.
It is important as well to have proper, decent vending stalls with functional ablution facilities in all areas that had illegal structures demolished so that those who survive from informal trade can continue with their businesses to sustain livelihoods.
In conclusion, Labour Economists and Afrikan Democrats (LEAD) calls for the immediate need to do away with the rot, unethical conduct and corruption in council.
It is imperative to investigate the whole estate department of the Harare City Council and immediate arrest of all those responsible for citizens outcry in the without further putting citizens at the risk of losing sources of livelihood and hard earned investments after demolitions.
Linda Tsungirirai Masarira