The Zambia Jubilee Coalition Pleads With Government To Provide Shelter To Over 800 Homeless Families
by MIKE MWENDA
THE Zambia Jubilee Coalition (ZJC) has pleaded with Government to provide shelter to over 800 homeless families of Lusaka Middle West whose houses where demolished and are now sleeping under the trees.
Earlier last week, another settlement was demolished in Kitwe in similar fashion and that ZJC finds this action by respective local authorities unacceptable.
Speaking in an interview in Lusaka yesterday, ZJC president Gabriel Kibombwe has advised the councils to come up with proactive strategies to curb illegal land allocations instead of the reactive responses in the form of demolitions.
Mr Kibombwe said that it was disappointing especially that most of the people who build houses here are informal traders, etching a hard life.
He said homelessness breeds a lot of street children who grow up into robbers, rapists or prostitutes who in the end become a second vehicle for the spread of HIV/AIDS which is currently adversely affecting the country’s economy.
“ZJC calls upon the Minister of Local Government and Housing to put a stop to such unwarranted demolitions as these have potential to destabilise peace especially that country is headed for elections,” he said.
James Zulu, one of the residents whose house was demolished said Government should investigate the whole issue as the people who are claiming to be the owners of the land do not have the necessary documentation to prove that the land is theirs.
“What is worse is that they are being so insensitive forgetting that we did not just settle ourselves here,” he said.
He explained that he could not report the matter to the police because the dealers who sold him the land did not give him papers.
And some of the affected families claimed that the government has not given them any form of support and that they have been braving the rains for a month now.
Alice Bwembya said the demolition was done in bad faith especially that it is the rainy season when they have nowhere to go to and seek alternative shelter.
She said the demolition of the houses after people have built must be stopped adding that people have spent money.
Mulenga Chisela, 70, married with six children, was stammering with shock and anxiety as he staggered around the rubble of the home he began building three years ago. “I am trying to save some building materials but I guess I would not recover it all,” he said
“I was nearly finished building this house, and now I lost my life savings when the bull dozers pulled down my house. It was my pension to raise my family here but as you can see the place is in a state of desolation,” he said and turned away, close to tears.
Meanwhile, land owners in the area have complained that they have been receiving threats from the people whose houses where demolished.
Police are still camped in the area to prevent any violence and to protect some of the land owners, who live nearby. But land owners in the area said they have been receiving threats from the people whose properties in question were demolished.
However, the land dispute in Lusaka Middle West remains has so far left many families homeless.
WRITTEN AND SUBMITTED BY MIKE MWENDA