Harare’s Fresh Start: Relocating Flood-Affected Families to Safer Homes

Government Acts to Safeguard Budiriro Residents, Demolishes At-Risk Houses

by Oluwatosin Alabi

In a significant move by the Zimbabwean government, families affected by the devastating floods in Budiriro 5B are being relocated to newly constructed flats in Dzivarasekwa Extension, Harare. This initiative marks a crucial step in safeguarding the lives and well-being of citizens living in vulnerable areas.

Recent flash floods have wreaked havoc across parts of Zimbabwe, with Budiriro 5B witnessing tragic losses, including the heart-wrenching incident of a six-year-old swept away by the floods. In response, National Housing and Social Amenities Minister Daniel Garwe, accompanied by other government officials, announced the relocation plan during a visit to the area.

Minister Garwe’s visit highlighted not just the immediate need for relocation but also addressed the long-standing issue of illegal land sales. He pinpointed specific land barons responsible for these unlawful transactions, urging the police to take action. Garwe emphasized the government’s commitment to eradicating the criminal sale of government land, a practice that has contributed to the escalation of illegal settlements in hazardous areas.

Originally intended for 27 families, the number of flood victims has unexpectedly risen to 43, underscoring the gravity of the situation. The minister expressed his astonishment at this increase, which reflects a disregard for government warnings about the unsuitability of the area for residential purposes.

Contrasting the government’s stance, some residents, like those from the area known as Common Vision, claim legitimacy in their occupancy. They allege that government employees and councillors were involved in the initial sale of the land, complicating the issue. These residents have sought government intervention to resolve their predicament, pointing to political differences and the interference of land barons as key challenges.

Despite these assertions, Minister Garwe remains firm in his stance against illegal settlements, especially in areas deemed uninhabitable like wetlands and under electricity cables. He urged the affected residents to bring their grievances to the police, reiterating that post-relocation, all existing structures in the area will be demolished to prevent future settlements.

Echoing the government’s determination, Police Commissioner Wonder Tembo assured that the police would fully enforce the relocation and demolition directives. He stressed their readiness to ensure compliance and prevent any attempts to resettle in the area.

This move by the Zimbabwean government is part of a broader initiative to address the challenges of illegal land sales and unsafe living conditions. It reflects a proactive approach to urban planning and citizen safety, balancing immediate relief with long-term strategic planning.

As these families embark on a new journey in Dzivarasekwa flats, the government’s actions send a clear message about the importance of lawful land acquisition and the necessity of living in safe, government-approved areas. This move not only ensures the safety of the Budiriro residents but also sets a precedent for addressing similar situations across the country.

The relocation of Budiriro flood victims to Dzivarasekwa is more than just a response to a natural disaster. It’s a testament to the government’s commitment to its citizens’ safety and well-being. By tackling the illegal land sale issue head-on and providing secure housing, the government is paving the way towards a safer and more law-abiding Zimbabwe.

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