Minister under fire over demolitions
By Harriet Chikandiwa/Richard Muponde | NewsDay |
MDC-T legislator Peter Moyo (Southerton) yesterday called for the resignation of National Housing minister caused by Daniel Garwe accusing him of being responsible for the chaos caused by demolition of illegal settlements in the country.
Moyo said this in the National Assembly, where he raised a matter of privilege with the Speaker Jacob Mudenda, accusing the National Housing minister of causing deaths from stress and pain among citizens after their properties were razed down.
“The destruction of houses in Zimbabwe is now a cause of concern to us. I raised the issue with Minister Garwe when he gave a ministerial statement in the House, and he promised that no houses will be demolished.
“However, in the past week, we have witnessed the acceleration of these demolitions. It is with a heavy heart that I raise this issue with you Mr Speaker Sir,” he said.
Moyo accused Garwe of destroying livelihoods of people through the “heartless demolitions”.
“You can imagine the pain people are going through right now. People have borrowed to build these houses. He is a saboteur of this country.”
Moyo’s demands for Garwe’s resignation in Parliament came at a time when Harare and Chitungwiza residents accused Zanu PF of shedding crocodile tears over the demolitions in the two towns as well as Melfort in Mashonaland East province.
On Monday, Zanu PF ordered stoppage of all demolitions, describing them as “inhumane”.
Party secretary for administration Obert Mpofu during a Press conference in Harare on Monday, which was also attended by Local Government minister July Moyo and Garwe, said the party respected the rights of people to shelter.
But residents’ associations said Zanu PF allowed land barons to grab council and State land for profiteering.
Chitungwiza Progressive Residents Association secretary-general Gift Kurupati said: “Politics is at the centre of all our problems in Zimbabwe. They always play politics with people’s lives. We don’t take that order seriously, it’s crocodile tears.
They are allergic to everything that can make Zimbabweans happy, they are always happy if they see people suffer. They are the same people who are the architects of all the mess in allocation of land, be it farmland or urban land.”
Harare Residents Trust executive director Precious Shumba said Zanu PF created the illegal structures as a vote-buying gimmick.
“Land barons thrive because they are more connected to the ruling party officials than opposition councillors and professional town planners are afraid of expressing their professional views. The land barons are involved in misleading the homeless people,” Shumba said.
“The matter should be resolved by our institutions and not politicians. As a governing party, Zanu PF must facilitate pro-people housing developments.”
Zanu PF director for information and publicity Tafadzwa Mugwadi said his party could not be blamed as its message was clear that those involved in illegal parcelling out of land should be arrested.
“We have never seen crocodiles crying, so literally, we don’t know the content of their tears. The party’s statement, as pronounced by the secretary for administration was very clear and unambiguous that residents must never cut corners when it comes to buying stands, as well as that wanton demolitions of people’s shelter must be ceased immediately,” he
“Those parcelling out land illegally must be brought to book notwithstanding their rank in society and that includes corrupt councillors who were collusive in these land deals.”