Mbare Squatters Win Court Ruling


HARARE – The High Court has barred police from evicting some 350 squatters from makeshift shelters in Mbare after a magistrate, apparently nervous of retaliation from the Justice Ministry, refused to hear the case.
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), which re

presents the group – among thousands of urban dwellers whose homes and livelihoods were destroyed in Operation Murambatsvina – said the High Court on Oct. 10 provisionally barred the eviction. “It was by consent. The City of Harare said they had never threatened eviction,” said Zvikomborero Chadambuka of ZLHR. The group will now be seeking a final court order barring their eviction until they have been found alternative accommodation.

Provincial Magistrate Ms. Chigwaza refused to hear the case Oct. 5, claiming that magistrate’s courts have no jurisdiction in Murambatsvina cases, although there is a register of such cases having been heard in lower courts.

Most of the group, including children, have been living in squalid conditions in makeshift shelters on an open area near Tsiga Grounds in Mbare. They were evicted from their homes under the purge – reportedly organised by the Central Intelligence Organisation to fend off feared demonstrations against the Mugabe regime. Police armed with dogs showed up on October 2 threatening them with violence unless they moved.

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