Harare – THE Harare City Council, in a bid to reclaim its idle land, has ordered more than 100 informal business units to be destroyed by the owners with immediate effect and signaled its intent to carry out the exercise if the directive is ignored, consequently placing the livelihoods of the affected traders in jeopardy.

 

The informal traders in Harare’s western Kuwadzana Extension high density suburb have been ordered to demolish their business units as government officials and the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front (Zanu-Pf) party continue to give contradictory statements about the demolitions of unsanctioned urban structures.

 

The order and warning is in a notice seen by the Crisis Report with a stamp dated November 15, addressed to “The Illegal Occupants” supposedly from the District Officer, although there are no signatures to it.

“As you are aware, the land that you are occupying is council land and was not allocated to you,” the notice reads.

You are hereby notified to demolish your structures and vacate with immediate effect or risk action being taken against you by council.”

 

One of the informal traders only identified as Tendai, said a council official circulated the paper on Saturday, November 16.

“We are surprised that they are doing this to us,” Tendai said, fixing a broken iron for a client at his stall, which sells electrical gadgets such as plugs, heating elements, electrical cords and adaptors by the roadside.

“I have a license, which I acquired from council for which I pay a fee of US$25.00 every month.

“They even told us that if we wanted a place to do our vending we should approach the committee which we have here.”

 

The businesses include hardware dealers, hairdressers, guarded parking lots, brick makers, and bed and wardrobe dealers, among other entrepreneurial endeavors.

The entities share space with non-commercial activities such as churches.

 

The bid to remove the informal businesses and “illegal occupants” from idle council land in Harare comes after a demolition exercise was carried out in Zimre Park and Damofalls suburbs, which fall under Ruwa District Council on the eastern outskirts of Harare on Thursday, November 7.

 

Like the informal traders in Ruwa, the owners of the informal business structures in Kuwadzana Extension are calling for the government to allocate them proper stalls, and formalize their operations including levying taxes.

 

They say they are afraid of falling back into the unemployment trap, which they say they are trying to run away from with their present self-employment initiatives.

 

Currently, the suburb mainly occupied by low income households does not have a market place for the small businesses, which could show that the only attempt by council at formalizing its relationship with the struggling traders went as far as giving licenses and raking in money in the form of fees every month.

 

The absence of council market stalls in most suburbs could also indicate that the government may be ignoring the informal sector, despite analysts concurring that it is the biggest employment creating sector in Zimbabwe.

 

The demolition exercise has been criticized by civil society organisations such as Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC), Heal Zimbabwe Trust, Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA), and Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), and Chitungwiza Residents Trust.

“Whilst the need and legal justification to rid cities of illegal settlements and structures is unassailable,” Crisis Coalition said in a statement, responding to the earmarked demolitions of unsanctioned houses and business units, “It is worrying that the rights of poor people could once again be violated.”

 

Civil society bemoaned the lack of alternatives by government for the affected people.

 

Meanwhile, analysts have warned that the attack on informal traders could further exacerbate the dire unemployment situation and cause a rise in crime, just as demolition of illegal housing units without alternative accommodation could increase homelessness.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013 15:25

Constitutional awareness campaign spreads

Harare – THE civil society campaign to spread awareness on the new Constitution in Zimbabwean communities on Saturday

Harare – CIVIL society organisations played a critical role in creating a relatively non-violent political culture

Harare – CIVIL society, at media workshop organized by Zimbabwe Association of Community Radio Stations (ZACRAS) as part of the on-going Media Diversity Campaign, cited Power FM as an example of how state radios can become sedatives for the youths by focusing on playing popular music rather than addressing critical socio-economic issues affecting that demographic.

 

ZACRAS hosted the Radio Indaba to analyze radio’s relevance in youth development in Zimbabwe on November 10 in Harare as part of the eleven events in the Media Diversity Campaign that was launched on 29 October and will conclude on International Human Rights Day, which is 10 December.

 

Speaking at the Indaba, which drew participants from civil society and the journalism sector, Brian Banda, the cultural affairs officer at the Great Zimbabwe University (GZU), said public radio stations such as Power FM were being used as a “sedative” for the youths.

 

The underlining factor is that Power FM is acting as a sedative,” Banda said, “as a means to pacify the youth by giving them huge volumes of entertainment, while at the same time running away from the real issues that are affecting the youth of Zimbabwe today.”

 

Power FM is a state-owned radio station that is dedicated to serving the youth population which category ranges from 15 to 35 years of age and is largely considered to be facing enormous socio-economic challenges.

 

Collen Chambwera, a student at the Midlands State University (MSU), said he had carried out a survey of young radio listeners, which showed that their most exuberant response to radio was inclined towards the Breakfast Show, a musical program.

 

“We need an alternative to the current set up because our national broadcaster has not played the role that it is supposed to play,” Chambwera said.

 

“The socio-economic issues can be infused with entertainment so that we have a radio that is relevant to young people.”


(Takura Zhangazha - Outgoing VMCZ Director)

Takura Zhangazha, the outgoing director of Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe (VMCZ), a media self-regulatory body said young people in Zimbabwe were facing socio-economic challenges such as high unemployment levels, which were not of their making.

 

“Most young people in Zimbabwe are unemployed, but employable,” Zhangazha said.

 

“The unemployment level is the direct fault of the government.”

 

Zhangazha urged youths to take advantage of the push for a 70% local content media policy for broadcasters by government to create content that speaks to issues that affect youths on a daily basis beyond music.

 

He pointed out that although the origin of the policy was in order to make citizens adhere to the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF) party’s narrow thinking on what constituted national interest, the government was now making efforts to turn media into an industry, which could present opportunities for youths.

 

Asked by Vivid Gwede of Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC), whether he thought the current editorial policies and content at public radio stations such as the youth radio, Power FM, addressed critical issues affecting youth beyond entertainment, Zimbabwe Broad Casting Corporation (ZBC) employee, Chris Chivenge, was evasive.

 

“In most cases, it is the dissenting voice that is heard,” Chivinge said. “The people who are pacified never come out.”

 

Chivinge added that it was difficult to please everybody in broadcasting, while advising the youths at the Indaba that they were free to communicate with Power FM as a youth radio if they had preferred programs they wanted the station to air.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013 19:09

Livelihoods destroyed following demolitions

victims desperate to engage authorities

 

RUWA – Desperate owners of informal business structures that were last week razed down

 

FOLLOWING recent media reports claiming that there has been an outbreak of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) in colleges

Harare – “CHARITY begins at home.”

 

This adage could have been forgotten or overlooked by Zimbabwean political parties

Harare – CIVIL society has called for a sustainable solution to the housing crisis in urban areas amid relentless post-election threats by the government to demolish the illegal housing settlements

BULAWAYO – AT a meeting held to mark the beginning of the 6th edition of the annual Ideas Festival, which ran from 31 October

Page 10 of 29

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