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Demolitions Exposed Govt’s Lack of Policy Direction: ZPP

A local human rights pressure group, Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) says the wave of demolitions that saw the destruction of homes and vending stalls for informal traders showcased the lack of clear policy direction within central government.

In its monthly monitoring report for June 2021, ZPP said the disjoint had become a human rights issue in the country.

“The disjoint, policy inconsistency and corruption in government has become a major human rights issue in Zimbabwe. The current spate of demolitions and evictions, which are not happening for the first time, prove that there is no clear policy direction in government because a number of the structures and houses that are demolished are not entirely illegal,” read the report.

The report says political meddling from the ruling party Zanu PF coupled with policy inconsistency is evidenced by the events in June.

“Through political patronage, Zanu PF officials have overridden the role of councils and allocated stands without the full involvement of city authorities. This has often resulted in houses being built on land already allocated to others, or on wetlands and other unsuitable locations.

The order to then stop the demolitions by Zanu PF through its party secretary for administration Obert Mpofu, exposes a longstanding ruling party-government conflation that has troubled the country, ZPP says.

“In some cases, corrupt council officials have allocated stands illegally and people have been given the green light to construct operating spaces in undesignated areas. The inconsistency and the conflation of government and the ruling party is evidenced by the contradictions that happened during the June evictions,” the report reads

“It defies logic how the party, not government would order a stop to the demolitions, and in some way it exposes the state-party conflation that has haunted Zimbabwe for decades. Ironically, even after Mpofu’s pronouncements, demolitions continued in informal traders’ spaces, which are the source of livelihoods for many.

“We strongly urge government to keep to its supervisory role and not interfere in the operations of local authorities. Extreme interventions like demolitions should always be the last option after all engagement avenues have been explored. There should also be a clear line between the ruling party and government.” said ZPP

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