Statement on Harare City Council Demolitions

The Zimbabwe Human Rights Association, (ZimRights) is deeply disturbed by the destruction of peoples only sources of livelihoods by the Harare City Council aided by the Zimbabwe Republic police.

Council started the demolitions on Saturday June 19 2021 in Mbare. While City Council claims the structures are illegal, the manner of the demolitions is inhumane as it amounts to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment which is prohibited in section 53 of the Constitution.

Some of the small business owners were not given the opportunity to remove their wares from the destroyed structures, resulting in them loosing thousands of dollars’ worth of goods and condemning them to poverty.

The demolitions also caused air pollution and noise pollution for the people in the Mbare environment without warning them.

Citizens are also appalled that a council that has failed to collect garbage, that has failed to address the pothole problems and that is failing to provide clean water, has resources to enable destruction of ratepayers’ sources of livelihoods.

ZimRights reminds council and the police that it is the failure by government to improve the economic situation, the failure by council to provide vending places for the ballooning numbers of citizens out of employment who are trying to eke a living through buying and selling wares that has pushed citizens to construct these “illegal structures.”

Authorities should know that for the majority of the citizens vending is the last resort and given opportunities, citizens would also want formal jobs.

Zimbabwe has a legacy of destroying people’s livelihoods instead of improving the lives of its citizens. In 2005, government’s Operation Murambatsvina left over 700 000 Zimbabweans homeless and without any source of livelihoods and some still destitute up to today.

ZimRights is calling on government and local authorities to address the root causes of the economic problems the country is facing instead of trying to address the symptoms.

ZimRights is urging government to respect the Right to Life by ensuring that people’s sources of livelihoods are protected and improved.