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Council Demolishes Dozens of Homes in Epworth

Houses destroyed under Operation Murambatsvina in 2005.
Houses destroyed under Operation Murambatsvina in 2005.
Dozens of Epworth residents, just outside Harare, on Monday watched helplessly as council razed down their homes in an incident reminiscent of the 2005 exercise dubbed Operation Murambatsvana.

The destruction of the homes comes after a private company, Sunway City, appealed to the High Court and was granted an order to destroy the houses.

Some of the residents had rebuilt their houses after they were destroyed under Operation Murambatsvina which left over 700,000 people nationwide homeless.

More than 1,500 homes are expected to be destroyed in the continuing exercise that had left more than 350 families without shelter by the end of the day.

The rains that soaked Epworth and the surrounding areas Monday worsened the residents’ plight.

Political commentator Rejoice Ngwenya of the Liberal Market Solutions said the move to destroy the houses appears to have political undertones as it comes amid talks of a possible election next year.

“The Zanu PF mentality of taking over pieces of land and setting up structures must come to an end,” said Ngwenya. “How come we don’t see this kind of thing in Bulawayo?”

One of the victims of the exercise, Damson Damson, said their houses were destroyed by council workers accompanied by armed riot police.

“We have nowhere to go and the rains are making our lives very difficult,” he said.

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Epworth council chairman Gift July said people had been warned not to build structures without council approval.

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