$800, no permanent shelter for Cheshire evictees

FORMER Masterton Leonard Cheshire residents have grudgingly accepted the $800 offered to each of them by the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare as grants to set themselves up after they were evicted from a block of flats in Harare following a property ownership wrangle.

BY VANESSA GONYE

Priscah Mupfumira

Priscah Mupfumira

The residents cited deteriorating health as the major reason they accepted the grants though they were concerned it would not take them far in terms of their welfare.

“We decided to agree to the terms due to deteriorating health and accepted the $800 grants because that was the best solution though it will not go a long way in our welfare. Life is going to be difficult for us, we don’t know how long the money is going to last or if we would have created a strong clientele,” one of the residents said.

Another resident said: “We accepted the money, but had hoped they would offer a more permanent solution. People want to move on with life, but they are still disabled, it is even more expensive now.”

The group of people living with disabilities was evicted from the block of flats in the Avenues area by the former chairperson of the Leonard Cheshire Disability Zimbabwe Trust, Bernard Chikwanha, last month and have been keeping vigil outside the property for close to a month. They had lost the legal battle which began 18 years ago.

Recently, Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare minister Priscah Mupfumira visited the evictees and consulted them on the issue, which yielded results as the group heeded her appeal.

Mupfumira had pleaded with them to accept the offer for temporary accommodation as an interim stop-gap measure. She cited fears of their health being in danger and barely a week after her plea the residents agreed to vacate the place with a few accepting the Ruwa option.

“ We are very sincere as government and I am saying it is time for dialogue, but not when you are sleeping outside. It does not make me feel good when you are like that so I have come to plead with you, my children, to go to the temporary shelter while we solve the issue,” Mupfumira said.