No to illegal and politicised land provision in Zimbabwe: Residents Forum

The Residents Forum is greatly perturbed with the abuse of residents by certain political players in the country using housing stands. It has come to the Residents Forum’s attention that today 20 July 2016 the ruling party has mobilised people within the suburbs of Harare and neighboring provinces for their march against protesters claiming that they are going to issue residential stands to them. This is uncalled for and unexpected in a democracy. This is manipulation of people’s desperation for shelter.

residental standsAs representatives of the residents we feel and believe that the use of residential stands as a campaign tool for any political party is a serious breach of the right of persons. Land is both a human and constitutional right hence politicizing it is illegal and unconstitutional. Using land for political expedience by any political grouping must be resisted and condemned.

According to Zimbabwe’s National Housing Policy, it is not a responsibility of political parties to issue out stands. The policy states that, “Local authorities are the planning authorities within their areas of jurisdiction and as such, they will be responsible for the planning of all urban land”.  We expect the government through the local authorities to issue stands to the people in a more orderly and properly manner following the housing policy. There are people who have more than 10 years on the city housing waiting list and they are yet to get any.  The Residents Forum will convene a meeting with residents to deliberate and proffer a way forward concerning the housing stands issue. Residents are key stakeholders on the matter and their voice must be recognized.

In addition, as representatives of the residents we feel that the constitution of our country should be respected accordingly as it states in section 56 sub section 3, that “Every person has the right not to be treated in an unfairly discriminatory manner on such grounds as their nationality, race…political affiliation…social status, or whether they were born in or out of wedlock.” In light of this constitutional provision, all residents should be treated equally and fairly in the allocation of residential stands. Residents Forum will engage the minister responsible for local authorities and Harare City Council over this irrational, discriminative and oppressive exercise.

There are reasonable fears that intended beneficiaries will not enjoy security of tenure on their pieces of land since it will be a campaign gimmick. Previous experiences show that in several occasions government demolishes such settlements to the detriment of suffering residents.

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