In pursuit of Section 74 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe that provides for Freedom from Arbitrary Evictions, Heal Zimbabwe partner, Wedza Residents Development Initiative Trust (WERDIT), a Community Based Organisation (CBO) that operates in Wedza, has made giant strides in rallying community members from five villages to challenge evictions by the Wedza Rural District Council (RDC). These villages include Bhuka, Nhekairo, Ndudzo, Matemberere and Chiparaushe.
In planning to evict the villages, the RDC did not conduct widespread consultations with the affected villages to afford them an opportunity to collectively input into the process. Rather, the RDC only served the villages with eviction letters and highlighted that the evictions were necessitated by the expansion of the growth point and other related developments. The RDC further failed to provide alternative places of settlement as well as compensation for property. It is against this background that WERDIT, with the support of Heal Zimbabwe, trained and established Action Accountability Teams (AATs) across Wedza district meant to monitor, document, refer, resolve and address emerging conflicts in the district. Added to this, WERDIT also engaged the RDC over the proposed evictions and conducted numerous engagement meetings meant to probe ways of resolving the conflict. As part of seeking legal recourse, WERDIT rallied its AATs and engaged the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) to challenge the evictions that are a human rights violation under Section 74 of the Constitution that states that “No person may be evicted from their home, or have their home demolished, without an order of court made after considering all the relevant circumstances.” In light of this, the eviction of villagers has been suspended pending the High Court hearing.
Added to this, the RDC has also started conducting consultative meetings with affected villages. These engagement meetings offer local communities an opportunity to collectively input into the RDC plan of action regarding the proposed evictions. The intervention by WERDIT is one among many interventions by Heal Zimbabwe that facilitate for local level conversations on pertinent issues affecting communities. Such interventions help build peaceful and socially cohesive communities.
Source: Heal Zimbabwe