Anxiety over delayed Chitungwiza demolition report

The delayed announcement of the demolition of structures in Chitungwiza deemed illegal has caused anxiety among residents and uncertainty in the local authority, said Chitungwiza town mayor Philip Mutoti.

Ignatius Chombo
Ignatius Chombo

The ministry of local government recently commissioned an investigating team, led by Ignatius Chombo’s deputy, Joel Biggie Matiza, to make recommendations on the way forward.

Residents and other stakeholders were assured by the ministry that the findings of the team and recommendations would be released by the end of November 2013, but nothing has materialised.

According to Mutoti, the uncertainty has stalled the local authority’s activities, as it was unable to plan ahead without the findings of the team.

“Delays regarding the release of the report are counter productive as council is not in a position to implement its plans and projects in the absence of the outcome of the investigations. Even council management is in a dilemma, since it cannot move an inch in the darkness,” Mutoti said.

The chair of Chitungwiza Communities Point Trust, Alice Kuvheya, said the lack of a report had created a vacuum, which gave space to worrying rumours that most of the identified illegal structures would be pulled down this rainy season.

People whose houses were to be demolished were naturally very anxious. Kuvheya said government should realise that the residents of Chitungwiza and Seke had the right to know the outcome of the investigations. She expressed concern at the exclusion of residents from the investigating team.

“Whatever the recommendati-ons of the report, residents will fight against any demolition, since one wrong cannot be corrected with another wrong,” Kuvheya said. More than 10,000 houses were described as illegal by Chombo’s offices and will be demolished if the investigating team gets its way.

Matiza told residents of Chitungwiza and Seke that government would not accommodate illegality and all structures constructed without the authority of the local authority would be pulled down.

There were unconfirmed reports that some illegal structures could be accepted, leaving only those built in wetlands, on sewer infrastructure and under power lines subject to demolition.

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