The Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) in its bid to fight for the right to shelter has said that most land barons who have political muscles are the reason to illegal structures and demolition.
Addressing the media in Harare today at a news conference, CHRA director Lorene Mupashiri said the city of Harare should plan properly so as to avoid demolitions and illegal structures.
“The reason why we end up with houses being demolished is because the city of Harare is failing to plan and deal with land barons who have political muscles and use this to dupe unsuspecting home seekers by double allocating them stands,” she said.
She added that the city of Harare was violating the right to shelter provision by using the 1979 by-law which is now illegal as it is contradicts the new constitution.
The 1979 by-law, which council is using in implementing demolitions is unconstitutional and archaic as it gives residents a 48 hour ultimatum to vacate or face demolitions without offering them an alternative accommodation.
She however expressed concern of the manner in which the city council disregard by-laws law when executing house demolitions around the capital.
“Executive demolitions without following legal procedures results in a major humanitarian disaster that results in residents not only being left homeless but exposed to various diseases as well.
“Arbitrary evictions not only violate the right to shelter but the right to life which is enshrined under section 48 of the constitution as well as the right to equality before the law as enshrined in section 56 of the constitution,” she said.
However, CHRA has promised to continue engaging various policy makers to ensure that the constitution takes precedence before any form of demolition that poses a humanitarian disaster is implemented.