MPs plead with govt to stop ruthless evictions

Family left stranded after govt demolished home


LEGISLATORS have pleaded with the government to deal with the current evictions, arrests of illegal settlers and the demolitions of their structures by authorities.

The legislators on Tuesday said even though the government was administering the laws of the land on the matter, the timing is wrong considering that Zimbabwe has been battling a deadly cholera outbreak that has killed 454 people since last year.

Midlands Proportional Representative MP Tsitsi Zhou on a point of national interest said, “Since 2004 and before, we have been witnessing illegal allocation of land without following the proper allocation channels.

“There are evictions that are ongoing countrywide and people are being arrested and taken to courts because they are settled illegally in resettlement and communal areas.”

Zhou added, “The government had taken a position to first identify land to allocate the illegal settlers in communal, resettlement and urban areas.

“We need to appreciate the population growth and the government should treat illegal settlers the same way, whether they are in urban or communal areas with empathy to achieve the desired results.”

The Speaker asked the MP to clarify whether she was condemning the Executive for implementing the law or not.

“The Executive is administering the law.  What is the problem? You are condemning the manner in which the eviction is taking place?” Mudenda said.

The MP told Mudenda that it was the manner in which the process was being done that needed scrutiny.

“I would like to believe that people have got a right to shelter.  There has been population growth since the Land Reform Programme and rural-to-urban migration.

“Whilst we appreciate this, people are being resettled illegally.  They are allocating land to each other through the village heads, councillors and all,” Zhou responded.

The Speaker agreed with her that the matter could be of national interest but urged her to ask the question to the relevant minister (Anxious Masuka) during the Q and A session.

“Well, that may be a matter of national interest.  I think you need to ask the question tomorrow. That will suggest what you are observing.

“There is no way you can stop the Executive from evicting people who have illegally settled themselves,” Mudenda said.

Another MP, Maxwell Mavhunga told Mudenda that his opinion was based on the timing of the evictions and not the enforcement of the law.

“The enforcement is not the issue but the timing of the enforcement. It is during the rainy season and people have nowhere to go.

“We are in a pandemic where there is cholera and people are being displaced at this particular time.

“We have people on farms who are being evicted when they have planted their crops and they are told to leave within seven days,” Mavhunga said.

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