There is a critical shortage of land in Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare. And despite Zimbabwe city council order, desperate home-seekers in the capital have continued to build illegal structures encroaching into cemeteries.
Some of the residents complained that there are not enough land in the city.
“We have no option but to build our house in the cemetery because we have no place to go until they give us another land then we can move from here and if not, we are here to stay,” said Trevor Hasha, a resident.
We have no option but to build our house in the cemetery because we have no place to go until they give us another land.
“Some of these people staying in graves are doing it purposely in order to force the authorities to give them land. They know the government will feel sorry for them and give them land for free,” said a female reisdent,Chipo Musunga.
Harare is one of the most congested cities in Africa with a population of 4 million.
However, the city was designed for approximately 400, 000 people only.
City Council Spokesperson, Michael Chideme warned that all houses encroaching into the cemeteries will be demolished. He said it is illegal and against the African culture.
“If a land is allocated for a cemetery, it should be used strictly for that purpose. We have lands reserved for houses, so if people are allocated land for houses, they should not encroach to lands provided for other uses,” he said.
Two months ago, Harare city authorities demolished houses which were illegally built within the International Airport.
Zimbabwe has a backlog of more than 1.5 million units of houses with residents blaming the authorities for failing to provide access to land for houses.
The Southern African country’s slum clearance operation has left 700, 000 homeless.