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Villagers seek compensation for demolished houses


THREE villagers from Seke communal area have taken Manyame Rural District Court to court seeking an order to declare the demolition of their houses last month illegal.

Feluna Nleya

Musoko village head Michael Dzikiti and two villagers Paradzai Chipato and Philip Mbengeranwa had their houses demolished by the local authority after they were considered as illegal structures.
The villagers also want the High Court to order the council to pay compensation for the demolished structures.

In an application filed recently in the High Court, the three villagers, through their lawyer Marufu Mandevere, charged that the council had violated their rights, particularly section 74 of the Constitution by demolishing their houses without a valid court order.

They also accused the local authority of failing to provide them with alternative shelter and a sufficient notice period. In his founding affidavit, Dzikiti claimed that he was born in the same village 38 years ago and therefore, could not be deemed an illegal settler.

“Our village was established in the late 1800s according to oral tradition, my grandfather, and my father are all late and they were all village heads. My family is also in line for the Seke chieftainship,” Dzikiti said.

“Since I am of the view that I am entitled to manage this land as a person who is above the age of 18 years and a major, I decided to build my home separate from my mother’s home, but close to the family home.”

Dzikiti added: “Even if their allegations were to be correct that my house is an illegal structure, surely the local authority ought to have consulted with me or even given me a warning.

“The respondent ought to have shown some level of respect to me as part and parcel of the administration of local authorities, rather than humiliating me in the manner they did.”

He described the demolitions as despotic saying the “overzealousness exhibited by the respondent should be nipped in its infancy in view of our new democracy as enshrined in the new Constitution”.

“I believe this is the right time that this honourable court should stamp its authority and save the new Constitution from the vultures like the respondent.”

The villagers have given council a ten-day ultimatum to file its opposing papers, failure of which the matter will be considered as unopposed and heard without further notice.

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