The heavens have opened up, over the last few days rains have been pouring across the country signaling the continuing rain season.
For most Zimbabweans, rains are a good sign as they give hope that maybe the dry tapes will be dripping regularly, or maybe the Kariba turbines will have something to grind over the following year.
However, it is also a blessing to have a roof over your head during this time and the authorities are robbing citizens of this blessing in broad daylight.
Recently, over 150 houses were demolished in Budiriro high-density suburb in Harare leaving hundreds of citizens stranded and hard-earned properties destroyed in the process.
Rains were pouring as if they were washing away the tears of homeless mothers, children and fathers who have been residing in this place for more than 10 years now.
At the root of this act and other demolitions before in the future id the country’s divisive politics that allows land barons to offer this land for political gains at the expense of innocent citizens.
Years later, the City Council comes back to pound on these houses with various reasons, no alternative shelter and their timing a bit off the charts.
The blame game going on between the government and the Harare City Council doesn’t help either. It shows the running deep transparency and accountability in these institutions.
The government blames the City Council who claim that houses were built outside of council regulations, but how did they allow the construction in the first place under their watch.
The local authorities believe that the government has been fueling the sprouting of land barons who illegally earmark land for construction without following proper guidelines.
Minister of National Housing and Social Amenities, Daniel Garwe is however on record saying no housing demolitions should be demolished but instead insisted that government would craft a policy which will deal with land barrons.
“If we are to develop Zimbabwe, we must agree to put a stop to informal settlements. One reason we have such is because of land barons who were supposed to develop the areas but pocketed the money.
“One thing I want to assure you is that we are going to revoke the permits of these land barons. I also want to assure you that no house is going to be demolished. We have the funding to regularise all this,” Garwe said upon his visit to Gweru in September.
However, Harare Mayor Jacob Mafume is on record saying that the cooperatives who were illegally handing out stands were registered by the government and therefore the local authorities could not regulate what these cooperatives were doing.
Citizens believe that authorities have to be accountable to them and protect them from such kind of persecution, but in return, it is the same authorities that are attacking people’s interests.
If the government and the local authority were not at loggerheads, because of political affiliations the issue of land barons and illegal settlements would have been stamped out years ago.
It’s high time these two institutions come together and come up with a long-lasting solution that will not hurt innocent people in the process. It is a basic human right that people should have a roof over their head.