Chitungwiza municipality demolishes houses at night

Chitungwiza residents have taken to the streets following house and illegal structure demolitions conducted by the city fathers last night.

George Makunde
George Makunde

Unauthorised structures were reduced to rubble in Unit ‘O’ Extension in the dormitory city.

Chitungwiza Residents Trust board secretary Tinashe Kazuru said through this action, “council had declared war with its residents.”

“The move by the George Makunde led council is totally unacceptable considering that this move was done at night without the police,” said Kazuru.

“We are challenging the destruction. Why was it done at night?” queried Kazuru. Kazuru said commenced at midnight until around 3 am.

He said although his organisation was still compiling a report to ascertain the exact number of houses that had been destroyed by council last night, it had established that at least 5, 000 people had been affected by the demolitions so far.

“We are still enumerating the number of houses that have been destroyed,” said Kazuru.

Philip Mutoti, Chitungwiza mayor refused to comment requesting The Zimbabwean to call after five minutes after which his mobile phone went unanswered.

George Makunde, Chitungwiza Town Clerk’s mobile was switched off.

Residents of Unit A extension near Chibuku stadium woke up to the sound of bulldozers and they mobilised themselves into protests, vowing to beat up council officials if they went ahead with their intentions.

However, by 8 am, at least five structures had been demolished.

In a move hailed by residents in April, a Chitungwiza magistrates court barred the local authority from demolishing the illegal houses and other structures in the satellite town.

The ruling followed Ignatius Chombo, the local government minister’s ultimatum giving residents three weeks to demolish their houses.

The court ruled that council could only proceed with the demolitions after following procedures laid down in the country’s laws.

Following the ruling, Chitungwiza municipality made a resolution not to demolish illegally built houses as earlier threatened, pledging that plans were underway to regularise the structures.

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