HomeLocal NewsGovt evictions spark uproar

Govt evictions spark uproar

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Dumisani Sibanda
GWANDA—The government exercise of flushing out non-civil servants from its pool houses has sparked an uproar in Gwanda amid reports that the move could affect orphans of deceased civil servants.
This has enraged residents of Sonondo suburb in Gwanda, Matabeleland South province who have since said they would fight vigorously to stop the evictions.
About a month ago, government announced it will be ejecting non-civil servants from its houses to pave way for its employees. However, it pledged to take care of civil servants’ orphans by seeking alternative accommodation.
But in a letter dated July 7 2010, Matabeleland South provincial officials under the Ministry of National Housing and Social Amenities based in Gwanda ordered a child-headed family at Sonondo to move out of the government house they occupy by the end of this month or face legal action.
The letter does not mention any alternative arrangements for the occupants — who are of school going age — a 17 year old girl and her 15 year old brother.
Child-headed families are a phenomenon in Zimbabwe brought about mainly as a result of the HIV/Aids scourge ravaging the country.
The letter of eviction is addressed to the children’s mother who died in 2008 while their father, who was also a civil servant, died a few years earlier.
“You are required to vacate Government House Number (number supplied) Senondo on or before July 31 2010.This has been necessitated by the fact that you are not a civil servant. Please be advised that according to housing policies and regulations, pool houses are meant for bona fide civil servants only. Please take note that failure to comply with the contents of the letter, legal action will be taken against you,’’reads the letter addressed to the deceased woman and signed by an R Muchina on behalf of the provincial construction and operation officer.
Muchina refused to comment on the matter when contacted and referred all questions to Francis Gadzikwe, the provincial head who was said to be in a meeting. But the spokesman for Sonondo residents and former Gwanda councillor Petros Mukwena said they would block the planned eviction of the child-headed family.
“The Government is supposed to be the defender of children’s rights and when it turns against them in this callous manner we become perplexed.We cannot sit and watch while those children are evicted. Their parents served this government with dignity and honour before God decided to take them away and their children do not deserve such treatment,’’ fumed Mukwena.

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