By Kumbirai Mafunda
CHITUNGWIZA Municipality on Sunday 11 October 2020 resolved to stop the demolition of some residents’ houses after Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) threatened to sue the local authority for violating people’s fundamental rights.
In a letter written on behalf of Chitungwiza Residents Trust (CHITREST) by Paidamoyo Saurombe and Tinashe Chinopfukutwa of ZLHR to the Chamber Secretary at Chitungwiza Municipality, the residents association protested against the local authority’s issuance of a purported Demolition Order on Thursday 8 October 2020, where it identified some places in St Mary’s, Zengeza, Seke and Nyatsime suburbs ordering people occupying houses in these areas to depart from the land, remove property from the land, demolish any structures erected, remove all the rubble from the land and restore the land to its original site by Monday 12 October 2020.
Saurombe and Chinopfukutwa stated that the issuance of a purported Demolition Order by Chitungwiza Municipality is a violation of residents’ basic rights protected under section 74 of the Constitution and which provides that no persons may be evicted from their home or have their home demolished without an order of court made after considering all the relevant circumstances.
Saurombe and Chinopfukutwa gave Chitungwiza Municipality an ultimatum lasting up to 9:AM on Monday 12 October 2020 for the local authority to furnish them with a court order authorising the eviction of people and demolition of their houses or else the human rights lawyers would pursue legal remedies to protect the rights of the residents.
But in response to the letter written by CHITREST, Chitungwiza Municipality on Sunday 11 October 2020 said it had resolved to suspend the demolition exercise hence the demolitions will no longer be effected as per its Demolition Order which it had issued on 8 October 2020.