Govt taken to court over Airport demolitions

TWO Harare residents, whose houses were recently razed down by the city council along Airport Road on President Robert Mugabe’s orders, have taken government to court demanding compensation, claiming the demolitions were illegal.


The two, John Pierre Dusabe and John Peter Mutokambali, were among hundreds of Nyikavanhu Housing Co-operative members whose houses at Arlington Estate were pulled down last week after they were declared illegal structures.

The affected families cited Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere, Lands and Rural Resettlement minister Douglas Mombeshora and Harare City Council as respondents in an application where they are represented by the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.

Mugabe ordered the demolitions late last year saying the structures tarnished the country’s image as they were close to the country’s gateway.


In their High Court application filed yesterday, Dusabe and Mutokambali maintained they legally acquired the stands and followed all council procedures in building their houses.

Dusabe said he lost a five-bedroomed house valued at $75 000 and other valuables worth $8 000.

“I implore this honourable court to intervene on my behalf to protect my family from homelessness, to protect our health and to protect our remaining property,” he said.

Mutokambali claimed his eight-bedroomed house was worth $100 000.

The duo deposited several papers, including an agreement of sale, confirmation of the registration of Nyikavanhu Housing Co-operative, a letter authorising them to build from the Local Government ministry signed by one S M Sibanda, one letter signed by provincial administrator Alfred Tome in 2013, a Government Gazette of 2010 and a Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe letter giving them the green light to construct houses on the land.

The victims also claimed that the demolitions were carried out without a court order.

“The respondents be and are hereby ordered to provide adequate restitution to the applicants for the destruction of their homes, at a scale to be determined by an independent valuator.”

21 Responses to Govt taken to court over Airport demolitions

  1. sharp January 29, 2016 at 7:10 am #

    Good thinking, still have people with brains.

    • sharp January 29, 2016 at 9:37 am #

      If a person presents all the required documentation to the courts, that’s a good job, now the court has to investigate and come out with answers or legalities to the matter. It doesn’t matter if you get your money back or not but, it is the only way to find out the provisions of the Law and who is at fault, the court outcome is what determines whether or not compensation should/will be paid. You can’t be affected and sit around and expect that questions will answer themselves, you let the courts decide. If structures are built in wrong places legally, then it is not the fault of the owner but the planner. That’s why you should employ qualified people who plan where to and where not to build, you don’t leave that to the individuals. If land is being sold legally and I can afford it and have plans for it, why shouldn’t I buy? For as long as some people blame the end user for some people misconduct then, the problem will persist. It’s not about these structures, country wide, someone is not doing their job hence the need for court intervention.

  2. TONGESAI MAZHARA January 29, 2016 at 8:41 am #

    You think the money will be paid? By who? When they fail to pay civil servants. Again youMutokambali and Dusabe, where are you from? How did you end up at Nyikavanhu housing co-operative? And you thought you had found easy way to get a property through the so called Nyikavanhu housing co-operative? By the way who was running the co-operative? Next time dont build next to the AIR PORT.

  3. TONGESAI MAZHARA January 29, 2016 at 8:45 am #

    And what will happen to Long Cheng Plaza? Its on a wet land. Is it a legal structure?. Someone tell me please? Does it not violate environmental rights? What about our God given wet lands destroyed? Who said such a place is suitable? When are we getting responses on this issue please?

    • Dhara Dee January 29, 2016 at 10:28 am #

      On Long Chen, the ministry of environment tried in vain to stop the construction because so many top officials were greased, so it died a natural death.

    • Judge, Jury and Executioner January 29, 2016 at 11:05 pm #

      Oh just shut up!

  4. Ashton banda January 29, 2016 at 10:28 am #

    These guys are misguided, cooperative land is not supposed to be sold, they must get back their money from the ones who sold them the land and not the government. Government is doing a very good exercise of removing the filth. I salute the Honorable Minister Saviour Kasukuwere for doing a very good job, keep it up. Please a cooperative is joined and a cooperative is not allowed to sell land.

    • Mutiro January 29, 2016 at 2:28 pm #

      Mr Banda, how can you applaud the Minister for effectively shifting goal posts? These people were given authorisation from the very same ministry that is demolishing their houses. There is nothing to applaud there. This whole case just shows how dis-functional our government is.

    • Mkanya January 29, 2016 at 7:17 pm #

      VaBanda go back to the article and read again maybe you will understand the story. They were authorized by the same ministry and proved with written documents so you mustn’t blame these end users.

  5. kitsi January 29, 2016 at 11:07 am #

    “Funny” surnames??

  6. Jamengweni Godonga January 29, 2016 at 11:23 am #

    So one must have a Shona surname to have a right? Shame on you guys. Yenaro the country is in this state – it’s because of such people. I wonder how many Zimbabweans – not only Shonas – are buying and building houses right across the globe? Should the nationals of those countries starting why the surname is not Jones or something like that? Pathetic thinking

  7. Citizern January 29, 2016 at 11:39 am #

    Council represents the government. if council approved then the government is equal responsible. these guys have a very strong case. am persuaded they will win their case.

  8. WILLARD MUBVUMBI January 29, 2016 at 1:29 pm #

    They are the Nigerians with those ‘funny names’. To tell you the truth, in third world countries its a waste of time and resources going to the courts, you can do that in first world nations.

  9. WILLARD MUBVUMBI January 29, 2016 at 1:43 pm #

    Kasukuwere is doing a good job. The current problem of unplanned houses built everywhere was caused by Chombo the erstwhile local government minister who gave co-operatives more powers. Now look vanhu vese takungomera pese pese se hwohwa- zvakataurwa kare na Mr Tsvangirai.

    • Mutiro January 29, 2016 at 2:49 pm #

      I completely disagree with your statement. How can you say that Kasukuwere is doing a good job when he is depriving people of rights that he is in fact sworn to uphold. You cannot deprive a person of their right to shelter by destroying their house if you have not provided an alternative. That applies regardless of whether or not that person is living in an illegal structure. You would be well served to look up the case of President of RSA and another VS Modderklip Boerdery Pvt Ltd.

  10. mudmann14 January 29, 2016 at 3:38 pm #

    ruthless council, these people were paying rates to that same council then they juss woke up one day destroying these peoples houses

  11. fyahman January 29, 2016 at 5:22 pm #

    Thats y I dont like to buy a stand,

    • gingerkelly January 29, 2016 at 7:40 pm #

      what Troy replied I’m blown away that a person able to earn $6908 in 4 weeks on the internet .

  12. annythomas4569 January 30, 2016 at 12:22 am #

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  13. Tafadzwa January 30, 2016 at 3:16 am #

    Although we are yet to hear he full story, I am wondering, how does one go ahead and develop a property without city council approval ? How were these developers expecting to getting water, sewer and electricity connections ? is it not common sense that you should have gotten the city council involved ? How can you just go ahead and start building just because you bought a piece of land ? Something is not right here !

    They were negotiating with Local Government Ministry officials ? Therein lies the problem. Even if the land belonged to a cooperative or Kasukuwere’s ministry, they should have approached the city council . Unless people learn to avoid short-cuts this problem will recur sooner or later.

  14. We The People January 30, 2016 at 9:58 am #

    It is neither here nor there whether one negotiated with Local government (council) or central government, they all remain state institutions that must uphold the rights of people in implementing their programs. By saying the applicants have “funny surnames” matanga Xenophobia mazezuru.

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