zim squatters.jpgSquatters who were last month removed from the Borrowdale Race Course area have since returned and are vowing to stay put, claiming that they have nowhere to go.

 

The City of Harare is failing to deal with the growing problem of illegal settlers in many parts of Harare due to lack of a long-lasting solution to the housing woes being experienced in the country.

 

Last month, council launched an exercise to remove the squatters but some have since returned to their original settlements.

 

At the Borrowdale Race Course squatter settlement near the leafy suburb of Gunhill, more people are even coming in to build shacks.

 

“Our houses were burnt, but we are back because we have nowhere else to go,” said one illegal settler.

 

Most of the illegal settlers in the area are of Malawian origin who said they do not have anywhere else to go as their parents were employed in the surrounding suburbs.

 

Others appealed to the government to allocate them land, so that they can practice agriculture and have somewhere to live.

 

Meanwhile, a housing development expert, Mr. Frederick Mabamba says the City of Harare should deal with the problem of squatter settlements, as failure to do so might lead to a situation similar to that in Kenya’s Kibera, the second most populous squatter camp in Africa.

Mr Mabamba said: “There is a growing number of these illegal settlements in Harare and this situation has to be controlled because we will end up with ‘Kibera’ here.”

 

However, many would question why a Zimbabwean with a rural home would choose to live in the squalid conditions, with some suggesting that the squatter settlements provide a safe haven for thieves who are just lazy and want an easy life.