The opposition Movement for Democratic Change Alliance (MDC Alliance) led by Nelson Chamisa says the government and its partners should immediately stop demolishing so-called illegal homes, vendors’ stalls and other structures in Harare.
In a statement, the MDC Alliance said, “The current campaign to destroy people’s livelihoods in The Harare Metropolitan Province is true to the character of Zanu PF and its proxies. They have a palpable insensitivity to the plight of the toiling masses of Zimbabwe generally and urban dwellers particularly.
“On a campaign which was announced by the Provincial Development coordinator, one Muguti and the illegal Provincial Ministry structure led by Mr Oliver Chidawu, the poor people’s marketing stalls, their only source of livelihoods is being destroyed. Goods are taken away or destroyed, pushing the poor further down the abyss of poverty and hopelessness.”
The MDC Alliance claims that the ruling party has co-opted some opposition councilors in destroying people’s livelihoods.
“Against the background of a collapsing economy, (and) rising unemployment, the majority of Zimbabweans are surviving on buying and selling of all sorts of wares, in the informal sector. People should not be punished for this rather they should be enabled to go about their activities, through provision of alternative spaces and infrastructure to support their livelihoods activities.
“We dissociate ourselves from the the activities purportedly sanctioned by the Acting Mayor of Harare, Mr. Stewart Mutizwa. MDC Alliance councilors of Harare issued a statement recently condemning the the dastardly acts of destroying the poor people’s only source of livelihoods in what is clearly a cycle of Murambatsvina campaigns.”
Mutizwa, Muguti and Chidawu we unavailable for comment as they were not responding to calls on their mobile phones.
According to the International Crisis Group, Operation Murambatsvina (Restore Order) in 2005 cost some 700,000 Zimbabweans their homes or livelihoods or both and affected nearly a fifth of the troubled country's population.
The ruling party says some of the structures being demolished were built on wetlands while others have become an eyesore as they were set up without council approval.