Human rights lawyers take Chombo head on


HUMAN rights lawyers yesterday condemned the ongoing demolition of illegal structures in Harare and gave Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo a 72-hour ultimatum within which to furnish them with statistics on the number of families likely to be affected by the blitz.


This follows the demolition of illegal structures by the Ruwa Town Board following orders by Chombo.

The crackdown came hardly 24 hours after Chombo’s deputy Joel Biggie Matiza warned Chitungwiza residents that the exercise would be rolled out in all urban centres.

In a letter, the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights said Chombo had no legal right to demolish people’s properties.

Part of the letter reads: “As a human rights organisation, and acting in the public interest, we are concerned that, in doing what you propose to do, will not only violate the Constitution, but impair the rule of law.”

“We, therefore, request that you provide us with the following information: How many households will be affected, in particular how many children will be rendered without shelter? What will be the duration of the notice period given to the affected persons? And in what form shall the notice be?”

Heal Zimbabwe Trust also said the demolitions were a threat to humanity.

Bishop Anselmo Magaya, spokesperson of Heal Zimbabwe, said : “Operation Restore Order, while purporting to target illegal dwellings and structures and to clamp down on alleged illicit activities, was carried out in an indiscriminate and unjustified manner, with indifference to human suffering, and, in repeated cases, with disregard to several provisions of national and international legal frameworks.”

Both Chombo and Matiza were unreachable for comment.

Meanwhile, hundreds of Ruwa residents whose tuckshops were destroyed by council bulldozers on Wednesday have accused government of robbing them of their source of livelihood and turned them destitutes.

Ruwa councillors have since distanced themselves from the demolitions.

In a joint statement yesterday, the Combined Harare Residents’ Association (CHRA) said: “When the State fails to create enough jobs or housing for its citizens in both rural and urban areas, people are pushed against the wall, and the construction of the so-called illegal structures becomes a necessity rather than a norm.

“Demolition of houses provides a fertile ground for conflict in the community and to that end there is need to avert unwanted situations through dialogue or provision of a reparations scheme.”



  2. ndomutambo weZanu pf kana yahwinha haifunge development inofunga destruction.Chombo aifanirwa kumisa zvinhu izvi zvichangotanga but nekuda vote yedu maitinyepera muchiti hapana anopwanyirwa imba.vatadzei vanhu ava Chombo,ivai vatungamiri vanoda vanhu,

  3. I saw it coming,people will never learn,we forget quickly.both of us we wrong but now the common denominator is the law,period.its mafia.mark my words

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  5. pamuchazopedza 5yrs munenge makaura. If your shack/house has been destroyed i am sorry. Chirega kutumira vari kumusha mari kuti vazive kuti zvavakavhotera ndizvo zvazvinoita. Tell them the truth.

  6. ZANU NDEYEROPA UYEZANU CHIORORO this shows kuti vari kukuudzai kuti we won nekungwara kwedu kwete nemavotes enyu. saka toorora zvino.

  7. Ngavaende paMbare apa…hezvo vakatya wani vakasiya vatovapa Biogas Station yekuisa magetsi mumaShack imomo.

  8. Chombo ane demoni rehutsinye. Anoita kunge arikugara kuFrance, kusaita kunge asingazive maomero ezvinhu munyika. Kuparadza hupenyu wevanhu kudaro

  9. nonsense!! Wat kind of human rights lawyers promote violation of by laws?? If a structure is built illegally shud it b mantained?? Wat about those who built their structures on sewer lines?? Wat violation of the Constitution r u talking about?? Dont try to mislead Zimbabweans. We want sanity in our towns.

    • Nonsense parapinda.If you go to Chitungwiza and to all who built their houses on sewer lines they will tell you that the responsible authorities authourised them to do that and they even have the plans,map site and everything that you might want to know including the stand numbers which iam sure its in their system and they are paying their monthly bills up to this day so the issue of being illegality is out of context my brother as those who want to destroy those houses are aware of it unless they have other political issues…..maybe its REVENGE TIME.wHAT GOES AROUND COMES AROUND GUYS.Why did you leave them constructing the structures in broad daylight when you when you knew you would destroy them and to make matters worse you have inspectors who could have stopped that …….if they are still working.There is also this house which was built mutara kuDelta Chitungwiza and up to now you still haven’t acted why???You really know kuti ivo vakuru venyu ndivo vakatengesera a residential stand to a AN Industrial stand handiti and you are still quiet.Who is to blame for this???Thats gross mismanagement iri ku Ministry of local government period!

    • @Parapinda tanga wanzwisisa mutemo nemushandiro wawo usati wahukura. There is no misleading irikuitwa apa, there are numerous questions that must be answered by Chombo and for as long as the legal system stands (as shoddy as it may be) anyone has the right to challenge government decisions through the courts- LHR is simply rendering a service in defense of these unfortunate people.

  10. Habakkuk’s Complaint

    2 How long, Lord, must I call for help,
    but you do not listen?
    Or cry out to you, “Violence!”
    but you do not save?
    3 Why do you make me look at injustice?
    Why do you tolerate wrongdoing?
    Destruction and violence are before me;
    there is strife, and conflict abounds.
    4 Therefore the law is paralyzed,
    and justice never prevails.
    The wicked hem in the righteous,
    so that justice is perverted.

  11. The Lord’s Answer

    5 “Look at the nations and watch—
    and be utterly amazed.
    For I am going to do something in your days
    that you would not believe,
    even if you were told.

  12. Legally, the lawyers have no leg to stand on, going after Chombo through the law to have him answer for following the law is a waste of time. This matter is a moral one, where is our humanity? This is an opportunity for our government to exercise public-spiritedness by either resettling our fellow countrymen or giving them a grace period to move out with their dignity and possessions unbroken.

  13. @jacob…i believe you respect the law yoself. If you buy stolen property from a thief you face the consequences. With some common sense my brother how can one buy property even from council when you can see clearly that the property is located on top of a tarred road? Lets b diligent citizens and not b gullible. Its us who suffer at the end of the day and not the unscrupulous,corrupt councillors.

  14. Since the beginning of this year, I invested time, money and space to engage the dysfunctional political local governance structure at the Local Board to innovate ways of integrating SMEs into the development matrix. BEFORE the elections, the Councillors claimed this would be deemed ‘political’. AFTER the elections, they said they would ‘think about it’. I asked the Ruwa Local Board to write SMEs and Vendors and explain to them need for alternative locations, but I was ignored. I even took liberty to visit some vendors – but they kept BLAMING council. Now we see the results of lack of strategic planning in MDC-T run councils. I close my case, your honour.

  15. My question is where was the Ministry of Local Gvt when these structures were being buit. More than 90% of the stands in Chitungwiza were sold by Mabamba, a ZANU PF Councillor. Why is the ministry not suing him. Poor home seekers are now suffering. Is Mabamba going to refund all those people. What about the sabhukus and chiefs in Seke. Some of whom have been voted as councillors. May the government approach this issue with an open mind. The most descend thing to do is to resettle these poor home seekers and or make them pay penalties and regularise some of the settlements. Of course houses should be built according to plan.

  16. Guys wait a little bit ,no one construct a house without council approval and councils are an arm of govt which falls in the offce of Minister Chombo. So the question is who gave these people authority to build bcause every stage of a building is inspected .

    I thinmk apa we are lying to each other kana pakaita corruption then those building inspectors must be arrested not to persecute the people.

    • taura hako…problem haisi muvanhu vakavaka but mulocal gov ikoko. Icorruption yoga yoga irikukonzeresa. People are desperate to find land they can call their own and they are being taken advantage off by mapoliticians who are working hand in hand nevenahu vekucouncil. Huori muZimbabwe hwatiuraya!

  17. well!minister chombo it is true that people must not build their house illegally bt my question is wher were u pavavaka,hausuriwe here wanga uri minister of local governance.its a sad story that zanu pf only want pipo during elections.u kno mos pipo ah unemployed if u destroy their tuckshops wc is their source of income how are they going to survive.then if u create employment nd offer them a place to stae then i justify ur move bt if u fail then i sae u hv elected urself in power kuti muchipedzisa kuuraya nyika.

  18. Land is not sold over the counter like bread. There are special provisions on the sale of land. Ensuring the seller has GENUINE title deeds in their own name is the only way to ensure one is not duped. Sales by cession are a bit tricky given pervasive corruption in local authorities. Besides a 200sqm stand is going for $9000 from genuine institutional land developers and some of the prices cited in the bogus deals mean you get what you pay for ie pay nothing expect nothing.

  19. Fellow Zimbabweans..I will tell you exactly were the Ministry was when people were building their houses…The Local GOVERNMENT authorities were busy allocating stands in those wetlands and to say that there are houses built on top of sewer lines and pylons that is a stupid politicking…I will attach a chitungwiza site plan for you to see…There is no such…musanyeperwe.

  20. The Zimbabwe government will not win on this one. The root of the problem is uncontrolled rural to urban migration. This government does not know how many people live in Harare right now which makes planning very difficult. When the white governments controlled rural to urban migration it was regarded by some as racism. Right from 1980 this government should have made sure people stayed where they were, unpopular as this may be but it does help in planning. It has gone out of hand for so long and cannot be rectified now. This is exacerbated by gerrymandering by ZanuPF to steal elections. This issue is going to run and run.
    Illegal structures have their own attendant problems like spread of diseases, haven for criminal activities and a nuisance for decent rate paying residents.


    follow link above munzwe hurumende yakaora iyi zvainoita…..Asi kupaza a house with a Certified plan,inspected all stages..ALLOCATED by the Council on your orders just because MDC is powerful there….havazi vese vanoda MDC or Zanu so why inflict pain kuvanhu…pedzeranai naChombo….Iyo parliament yacho unoshaya kuziva basa rayo..They spend time debating Urine instead of summoning the bastard son Chombo…….nxa

  22. The Truth, am told is that very few people voted ZANU PF in Urban areas and most rural areas.

    So ZANU PF have statistics for example you may be surprised that the Mount pleasant constituency, only 5 people voted for ZANU PF.
    But Nikuv gave these figures to ZANU PF to say… Look here. Noone voted you in town but we are rigging..

    Mugabe himself was told that no one in Urban areas liked him. If you remember he swore that Urban people muchazviona chete…

    So Chombo is merely fulfilling Mr Mugabes wish.

    Noone voted for ZANU including ministers and senior government officials like myself. We do not like it.

  23. Instead of listening to this human right lawyer, find something to do so that you move on. These lawyers are just after NGO money. Those victims know very well that they did not take proper procedure instead they trusted corruption. Chombo is right

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