HomeOpinionEDITORIAL COMMENT:Housing issue now a national question

EDITORIAL COMMENT:Housing issue now a national question

THIS year’s winter period has recorded some of the lowest temperatures with some areas around Harare recording as low as 8o Celsius.

It’s a nightmarish experience for young children and their helpless mothers to endure chilling temperatures during this year’s cold winter. Cold weather comes with diseases such as influenza (flu). It is painful if not horrendous to spend nights in the open after struggling to buy a residential stand and let alone build a structure in an hyperinflationary environment.

But this is what happens when an elitist government — local and central — is in office. Years of hard work can be razed to the ground by a bulldozer in the twinkling of an eye.

In recent days, some of the over 3 000 residents in Melfort under Goromonzi Rural District Council, just outside of the capital, had their homes bulldozed in these so-called illegal settlements.

Demolitions of illegal structures have been going on for years in Harare and Chitungwiza. The problem seems to be unending. It actually goes back as far as 2005 during Operation Murambatsvina where 700 000 people were left homeless.

Lawlessness has no place in a constitutional democracy. Settlements have to fall under local authorities’ plans and city by-laws. But with a housing backlog of almost 1,5 million, scramble for homes can spiral. Home-seekers then part with their hard earned money to buy stands from land barons and dubious housing cooperatives. This creates problems for home-seekers who are always losers in the end.

For how long will this problem continue? The blame game between government and councils, which are strongly divided on political lines, is not useful. What is needed as a matter of urgency is a lasting solution to the housing shortage headache.

We have written time and again, as we do now, urging the government to walk the talk on service delivery; yes government — whether central or local authority.

Zanu PF controls central government while the MDC Alliance has in its hands councils where service delivery has deteriorated to alarming levels.

The “inhumane” house demolitions this week forced Zanu PF through its secretary for administration Obert Mpofu to condemn and halt the destruction. This was after weeks of demolitions of homes and vending stalls of informal traders, who already belong to the low-income group and struggle to make ends meet.

Mpofu’s party is the architect of the economic collapse, first under the late Robert Mugabe and now Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration which is championing anti-people policies.

The Zanu PF government, without any shadow of doubt, has caused untold suffering for the masses. Poverty has been a shameful tag for Zimbabweans for the past two decades. It is the same political party whose sitting and former officials sold land to desperate homeseekers. Thus, it is Mnangagwa’s burden to restore sanity in housing problems as people are losing hard-earned money and other resources to build homes for their families.

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