HomeNewsResidents urged to sue council over floods, typhoid

Residents urged to sue council over floods, typhoid


THE Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) has called on Harare residents affected by recent flash floods and typhoid outbreak to sue the local authority for negligence.


In an interview with NewsDay on the sidelines of a stakeholders’ engagement meeting in the capital, ZHRC chairperson, Elasto Mugwadi, said suing Harare City Council and demanding compensation for loss of lives and property was in line with international best practices.

“In fact, if you look at international instruments, including our own here, if there is a disaster, which is classified as man-made, it could have not been deliberate at times, but there was negligence and, therefore, the victim or the person who has suffered naturally has to be compensated,” he said.

“This is one of the recommendations that we have underlined that these people should be compensated, they lost properties and most of them were probably not even insured and it was at the instance of failure of the city fathers and, therefore, they have to pay for that.

“It has to be punitive, at times, because when we are talking of rights issues, we are saying someone has suffered.

There has been some instances where there were loss of lives and what would you do when someone was a breadwinner and if there is no compensation, what will happen?”

Hundreds of people have been affected by flash floods caused by poor drainage systems in Harare.

Among other recommendations, ZHRC said local authorities should adhere to and respect the Constitution, the Urban Councils Act, Environment Management Act and international treaties in the discharge of their duties in order to protect citizens’ rights.

The commission said local authorities should engage in effective planning that helps in averting such challenges, while also urging citizens to avoid littering that leads to the blockage of the urban drainage system.

Mugwadi said they were engaging Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri to protect the rights of peaceful protesters, while, on the other hand, he said it was imperative for demonstrators to maintain peace.

Combined Harare Residents’ Association director, Mfundo Mlilo, blamed Harare City Council for contributing to the recurrent typhoid cases because of its poor health policies.

The meeting was also attended by representatives of Doctors for Human Rights, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, Chitungwiza Residents’ Trust and Vendors Initiative for Social and Economic Transformation.

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