SW Radio Africa (London)

12 December 2013

Zimbabwe: Mudzi Rural Council to Evict 2,000 Households

About 2,000 Mudzi households are facing eviction from their homesteads to make way for what the ZANU PF controlled rural district council says is a planned expansion of the border town. So far 140 households on the outskirts of the Mudzi town, bordering Mozambique, have been served with notices to relocate without compensation.

But SW Radio Africa heard Thursday that the best the council has done is to offer to buy their land for $1,300 for 200 square metres, or face eviction. Already Mudzimu village in the Nyamapanda area has been subdivided into residential and business stands with roads leading straight towards people's homesteads being constructed.

Both the District Administrator, Lot Kudamahufa, and Council Chairman Alois Kambambaira, are said to be spearheading the exercise. The two are said to have sarcastically told villagers at a recent stakeholders meeting at Nyamapanda Primary School to move to Mozambique if they had no alternatives within the country.

SW Radio Africa correspondent Lionel Saungweme said the exercise was part of what appears to be a well coordinated national programme by the ZANU PF government to entrench its presence in the rural areas by creating opportunities for its supporters in the name of development. Only last month the High Court stopped the ZANU PF controlled Umguza Rural District council from destroying the Reigate Compound just outside Bulawayo. The council claims that it wants to develop the compound into a modern residential area.

At the time the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights issued an ultimatum to the local government ministry, imploring the government to stop evictions going on around the country.

This was after local government minister Ignatius Chombo's proclamation that the government would soon demolish some 'illegal structures' in Chitungwiza and Seke communal lands, under the pretext of environmental protection.

The lawyers ultimatum implored the government to uphold the rule of law. Section 74 of the Constitution states that: 'No person may be evicted from their home, or have their home demolished, without an order of court made after considering all relevant circumstances'.

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