Amnesty International-Zimbabwe marked World Habitat Day on Monday urging the government and local authorities to provide basic services such as water, sanitation and roads in slums which have mushroomed around the country’s towns and cities.
In an interview during the commemorations organized by his organization in Hatcliffe Extension in the Harare North, executive director Cousin Zilala of Amnesty International Zimbabwe, said authorities must provide basic services to areas like Hatcliffe, Caledonian and Hopley.
Mr. Zilala said some of the slums mushroomed after the government destroyed people‘s houses in 2005 under Operation Murambatsvina or Remove Filth which, according to non-governmental organizations, left more than 700,000 Zimbabweans homeless countrywide.
He said government failed to provide decent accommodation to Murambatsvina victims under its Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle housing scheme that was set up for victims of Operation Remove Filth.
Zilala said despite having a national housing policy in place, government has not shown seriousness in providing shelter and basic services to areas like Hatcliffe Extension and Hopley.
Hatcliffe resident, Vimbai Matope, told VOA Studio 7 that life is difficult as the area does not have running water and many people still do not have proper houses.
She still expects government to construct roads, schools and community halls, so the area could be like any other suburb in Harare.
Zimbabwe commemorated World Habitat Day under the theme “Housing is a Human Right.”
The United Nations has designated the first Monday of October every year as World Habitat Day. The purpose of the day is to reflect on the state of towns and cities and access to adequate shelter.
The U.N theme of the World Habitat Day 2013 is “Urban Mobility” meant to encourage people to shift towards more sustainable modes of transportation. In the year 2012, the theme was Changing Cities, Building Opportunities.