21 April 2014

Zimbabwe: Govt to Assess Assistance for Mazowe Farm Evictees

A team led by the ministry of Local Government, Public Works and Urban Development is headed for Rushinga this week to assess the assistance to be given to people evicted from a Mazowe farm last month.

The visit follows a crisis meeting on Tuesday chaired by Mashonaland Central Provincial Affairs minister Martin Dinha which resolved that a team be dispatched to Rushinga this week, provincial administrator Josphat Takundwa Jaji told The Standard.

"A team is going to Rushinga. The ministry of Local Government will lead that team," Jaji said.

Tuesday's meeting discussed how the victims would be assisted with indications that some non-governmental organisations have promised to provide assistance.

Last month, heavily armed police officers swooped on Spelenken Farm in Mazowe and evicted the inhabitants.

Government claimed that it had given the victims adequate notice and that they would be resettled in Rushinga.

Of the affected, 50 families were dumped at Chief Rusambo's homestead in Rushinga.

The evictees are living in squalid conditions where they are struggling to get meals at Chief Rusambo's homestead.

Chief Rusambo, born Gladmore Kangora, recently told The Standard that he had been to various offices to seek for assistance but nothing was forthcoming.

He approached Alfred Tome, provincial administrator for Harare for onward transmission of his plight to President Robert Mugabe.

"Tome told me to wait and I have not heard any word from him ever since," the traditional leader said.

The victims were sleeping in the open, exposed to the vagaries of the weather. Schoolchildren stopped going to school last month.

The victims said they have been abandoned by government which had promised to resettle them in Rushinga.

Critics say the evictions were illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional as there were done without a court order in accordance with the constitution.

Section 74 of the constitution stipulates 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".

The right to housing is recognised in various international statutes.

Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights acknowledges the right to housing as part of the right to an adequate standard of living.

It states that everyone "has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control".

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