Mutare Shelves Plans to Destroy Illegal Structures
CITY authorities in Mutare have temporarily shelved their plans to demolish hundreds of illegal structures that have been mushrooming in the border city's high density suburbs and the CBD. The demolitions were targeted at tuckshops and some buildings illegally constructed on undesignated areas.
Before the new development, the local authority had informed residents of its plans to destroy illegal structures. Mutare mayor, Tatenda Nhemarare confirmed the local authority has decided to shelve its plans for now while they sought alternative places to accommodate the affected families.
"We have halted the exercise as the local authority is trying to locate alternative areas for the residents to carry out their operations," said Nhemarare. The local authority's decision could also be associated with a petition from United Mutare Residents and Ratepayers Association (UMRRA) asking city fathers to first consider the humanitarian element to their unpopular decision, before the demolitions.
UMRRA Executive Director, Dr Sebastian Bakare, confirmed his association had written a petition against the demolitions and thanked the council for heeding to their call. "We wrote a petition to the council and they heeded our call. The petition was purely on humanitarian grounds," said Bakare.
UMRRF had argued that proceeding with the exercise was going to severely disadvantage poor residents in Mutare. "It is our view that the owners of these illegal structures are innocent residents who are trying to eke out a decent living through honest means," said Bakare.
"Unemployment rate is around 90 percent. We kindly ask you to provide alternative designated working areas in consultation with them before demolition." Due to economic hardships and job scarcity, residents have resorted to constructing tuckshops and salons in their backyards to raise funds to survive.