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.
BY MOSES MATENGA
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.”