Local Governance

House demolitions, diabolical and punitive- Chitungwiza Community Development Network

By Nyasha Mutena

The Chitungwiza Community Development Network (CCDN) has castigated the ongoing house demolitions in Budiriro and other parts of Harare. It said they should have destroyed the structures during building phase before they became homes with children and families residing in them.

Through an official press statement today 10 December 2020, which also marks the International Human Rights Day, CCDN registered displeasure with reports, pictures and videos of house demolitions saying that this is a far cry from the people’s expectations considering the heavy rains.

“CCDN is disturbed by reports, pictures and videos of house demolitions in Budiriro-Harare at a time when Zimbabwe is receiving blessings in the form of heavy rains. The videos of women wailing and children crying as bulldozers destroy their homes and properties shows a diabolical and punitive agenda. We call on the government and City of Harare to provide alternative accommodation before demolishing homes and act in a manner that shows respect for the constitution and the fact that we are all Zimbabweans and equal before the law.

“We as CCDN and other civic organizations in Chitungwiza “Stand Up for Human rights”, and condemn the City of Harare for the house demolitions. Why did they fail to demolish the structures when they went up during building phase before they became homes with children and families residing in them? The house demolitions reveal the hidden hand of corruption in housing stand allocations and government needs to act decisively on land barons, corruption and housing backlog,” said CCDN.

The organization went on to say that human rights are critical to setting standards that enable all stakeholders tackle entrenched, systematic, and intergenerational inequalities, exclusion and discrimination.

Their clarion call comes at a time when the Coronavirus pandemic negatively affected informal business people amid high unemployment rate in the country. The majority especially in urban areas like Chitungwiza are yet to recover from the adverse effects of the COVID-19 induced lockdown protocols which among other things limit gatherings and business operating hours.

CCDN added;

“10 December 2020 is an opportunity to reaffirm the importance of human rights in re-building the world we want, and therefore an opportunity for introspection and global solidarity reaffirming our interconnectedness and shared humanity.

“COVID-19 pandemic and its lockdown protocols has devastated economies and overwhelmed health care systems in developed and developing countries. The death toll from the pandemic is still rising but we are heartened to hear that various vaccines have been developed to stop it.”

This year’s Human Rights Day theme dubbed, “Recover Better: Stand Up for Human Rights” resonates well with the COVID-19 pandemic recovery efforts and focuses on the need to build back better through ensuring that Human Rights are central to recovery efforts.

The International Human Rights Day is celebrated annually on the 10th of December 2020. The United Nations General Assembly adopted the day in 1948 to reaffirm the importance of human rights in re-building the world we want, the need for global solidarity as well as our interconnectedness and shared humanity.