Forced Evictions: Evil and Inhuman
19 February 2024
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By Dr. Masimba Mavaza | Zimbabweans are once again engulfed in a heated debate over land evictions, pondering who is responsible. Many have pointed fingers at ZANU PF, while the faltering opposition sees this as an opportunity. However, it’s crucial to clarify that ZANU PF itself is not behind these evictions. These actions are authorized by the ministry responsible for enforcement.

Understanding the distinction between ZANU PF and the government is vital. ZANU PF, while a significant political force, does not equate to the government but is a part of it. The government serves the entirety of Zimbabwe, whereas ZANU PF focuses on its members. Notably, ZANU PF members are also impacted by the current eviction exercise, making it unjust to solely blame the party.

Evictions are carried out in accordance with the law. It’s disheartening to see support for unlawful practices under the guise of opposing ZANU PF. Zimbabwe’s land tenure systems—freehold, state land, communal, and leasehold—are crucial in shaping property rights and access to natural resources, with historical ties to the country’s colonial past.

The communal land system, covering a significant portion of Zimbabwe and housing the majority of its population, offers usufructuary rights, but recent government actions, such as mining and quarrying, have raised concerns about the rights of communal land inhabitants.

Forced evictions violate numerous internationally recognized human rights, leading to homelessness, destitution, and increased social inequality. They often result from a lack of legally secure tenure, highlighting the need for protections under the right to adequate housing.

Zimbabwe’s Constitution acknowledges communal land’s unique status and the role of traditional leaders in its administration. International human rights law demands that evictions only occur under exceptional circumstances, with comprehensive protections for those affected, including consultation, notice, legal remedies, and adequate compensation.

The persistence of evictions, often carried out without exploring alternatives or providing adequate compensation, is both legally