By Watmore Makokoba
It is 5 am early in the morning and everyone is probably contemplating on waking up or have one last nap of sleep before rising up for the day, this can only be in the dreams and imaginations to the Cheshire house former inhabitants.
As Monica (not real name) narrates her ordeal after forcing herself to swallow the harsh reality of separating with her two and half year old son when she had no option but to find an alternative sanctuary for him when she realised that no help was imminent and her son who had already succumbed to a cold-induced fever could face a fatal catastrophe.
“Naturally, as a mother, separating with your child because you don’t want to see them suffering or to face any danger is very painful,
“It is much more painful when you are living with a disability, with all the ridicule we get every day, my children are the only treasure I live for in this world,
“I had to ask for some well-wishers to temporarily look after my boy after I realized that we may stay longer outside than anticipated given the hide and seek tendencies being exhibited by the authorities”, lamented Monica with tears laden in her eyes as she sits on her old model wheelchair uncomfortably.
This was a few days after one Mr. Banda purporting to be a government official approached them with what he said it’s an ideal deal from the government, it was an offer of an insignificant $800 as a relocation facility, which some of the Cheshire residents rejected.
Monica saw a bleak future and more woes mounting hence she had no option but to evacuate her only son from experiencing such a horrible encounter.
Zimbabwe Women in Politics Alliance (ZWIPA) founder and human rights defender had no kind words for Zimbabwean authorities after paying a visit to 85 Baines Avenue.
“ZWIPA condemns in strong terms the gross human right rights violations to the disabled people of Cheshire Flats who up to now continue to live as destitute’s after being evicted from the flat.
“It’s appalling this hide and seek and conman style being deliberately applied by the government to these people. Albeit the fact that these people are a special group of people living with disabilities, and requiring their rightful dignity. The constitutional core values clearly stipulates that every person has the right not to be arbitrary evicted from their shelter, guarantees the recognition of the inherent dignity and worth of each human being,
“It is very clear that the government of Zimbabwe, by not putting in place measures as called for by their mandate to bring a meaningful solution to the plight of these families is a violation of their human dignity and fundamental rights”, said Masarira.
Giving due appreciation to good gestures by well-wishers ranging from human rights defenders, civic society and ordinary citizens, including the donation call tin at Moto Republik where people have given what they have no matter how small, the government of Zimbabwe especially the relevant ministries has simply shown the whole world that it does not care about not only about disability but humanity.
The unconstitutionality of arbitrary evictions
According to section 22 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe:
“(1) The State and all institutions and agencies of government at every level must recognize the rights of persons with physical or mental disabilities, in particular, their right to be treated with respect and dignity.
(2) The State and all institutions and agencies of government at every level must, within the limits of the resources available to them, assist persons with physical or mental disabilities to achieve their full potential and to minimize the disadvantages suffered by them”
Putting aside the issue of disability, though pertinent, Section 74 of the Constitution reads:
“Freedom from arbitrary eviction No person may be evicted from their home, or have their home demolished, without a court order made after considering all the relevant circumstances”.
“The High Court of Zimbabwe has reaffirmed that no one can just wake up and decide to evict people from their place of residence without following the law. The Zimbabwean authorities must now stop these forced evictions and abide by the court order,
“The Zimbabwean authorities continue to disregard the provisions of the new Constitution resulting in serious violations of human rights. It is not enough to have a beautifully crafted declaration of rights without a corresponding commitment to protecting these rights. The authorities must conduct themselves in a manner consistent with the letter and spirit of the Constitution,” , said Simeon Mawanza, Amnesty International’s researcher for the Southern Africa region referring to yet another dehumanising incident when families were evicted from Arnold farm in Mazoe in 2014 to pave way for the first lady’s Grace Mugabe projects.
Since its winter, the pain of spending a good number of days in the open cold can be more painful and unbearable than enduring the long held ridicule of disability that the folks have already grown to brush aside.