Urbanisation in Zimbabwe: Selected Cities

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Rural-urban child fostering in Kenya: Shabeen tales messages from Harare. Shona customary law with reference to kinship, marriage, the family and the estate. Teachers, preachers and non-believers.

A social history of Zimbabwean literature. Some kind of wounds and other stories. The circularity of the perverse: Zimbabwean post independent masculinity. The effects of population growth, of the pattern of demand, and of technology on the process of urbanization. The emancipation of women. The evolution of the spatial structure of greater Harare: Survival values of African culture. Policy review in the incorporation of informal urban settlements into the mainstream urban planning through effective stakeholder participation within urban councils is recommended.

Urban local governments have a responsibility of ensuring development control within their areas of jurisdiction as enshrined in the Urban Councils Act Chapter Currently urban local governments are charged with ensuring that they control development within their jurisdictional areas particularly on the built environment or land development thereto. Urban local authorities that have faced development control challenges in Zimbabwe include Epworth, Chitungwiza and Ruwa.

In this case Chirisa in the Epworth case argues that since the lates it has attracted a large number of poor homeless people. Numbers have grown from about 20 people in to by and presently the local board has lost count, but rough estimates put the population at around This development has resulted in the growing numbers of informal settlements rendering the development control thrust of subnational governments somewhat difficult to manage.

Development control seems to have been overtaken by the housing developments within their localities. The estimated number of informal settlements in Epworth in was about families are staying in informal settlements Ibid p In the Harare scenario Sithole and Goredema on the sprouting of undesignated settlements on wetlands argued that numerous wetlands that can be identified in and around Harare have since been converted into stands, most notable being the Monavale wetland where houses now stand, the Belvedere wetland by the National Sports Stadium where construction of a multi-purpose centre hotel and wholesale was recently completed, while a school was built on the Ashdown Park wetlands among other wetlands from the above discussion.

These challenges have hindered urban planning procedures and processes thereby making council operations challenging or virtually impossible.

An understanding of the anatomy of the challenges and solutions to the identified challenges is critical in ensuring a smooth and efficient housing service delivery system. Data collection was done between February and March and was largely qualitative as it sought the experiences of the various parties who are key actors in the provision of housing as well as those who are affected by development control measures that are instituted within their localities.

In addition the qualitative inquiry was adopted as it gave the researcher the opportunity to interact with the natural setting Gutsa and Choguya, Qualitative research is a multi-method approach based upon social realities Denzin and Lincoln, In this view the emergence of informal settlements is indeed a socio—economic reality prevailing in most urban local governments as a result of the rural—urban influx within these communities and hence the need for the adoption of a qualitative paradigm in undertaking the research.

Purposive sampling was used in areas where development control challenges are experienced in Harare, Epworth and Chitungwiza and the areas and actors who have specific designations in organisations that were to be visited by the researcher. This was done by drawing a list of participant organisations and that is where the sample was deduced.

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A sample size of 15 informants were selected from local authorities officials, central government representatives, stewards, housing cooperatives representatives, academics among other stakeholders. Purposive sampling was used to select the areas to be visited within the urban local governments and the key organisations to be visited by the researcher. In collecting data the interview guide and observation were used as instruments in undertaking the research. This paper is organised under the following sections background and context of the study, literature review, study design and methods, results and discussion as depicted herein.

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It also endeavours to deliver recommendations thereof. This has always been the prerogative of urban local governments as enshrined in Section of the Urban Councils Act Chapter The Act compels urban local governments to control township developments within their localities.

When demolishing illegal structures, local authorities will be exercising their development control and land stewardship function as the houses will have been allegedly built on undesignated places. The restoration of order is meant to ensure regulation and orderly implementation of plans within the various areas. In a survey conducted Sithole and Choguya have argued and concluded that, despite environmental policies and laws for the protection of the wetlands, Harare City Council continues to allow urban development to encroach on wetlands because local government legislations out muscle the Environmental Management Act Chapter However the above happens whilst those responsible for the protection of wetlands will be pointing fingers at each other instead of coming up with a lasting solution to this predicament.

This situation has culminated in policy implementation discord between the various government agencies in this case Harare City Council and the Environmental Management Agency. Similarly, Mutembedzi in the Kadoma City Council case noted that low cost housing is no longer the first priority in allocating housing land in Kadoma resulting in overcrowding and the use of informal land access methods as alternatives.

Because of the demolitions, the inhabitants and their household property are left in the open as Section of the Urban Councils Act Chapter In this vein, government implements its development control authority on any development as prescribed in the enabling legislations such as the Urban Councils Act Chapter However, Mutembedzi further acknowledges that issues of land and the role government plays in allocating, acquiring or permitting land to be developed are very complex.

In this scenario both the LAs and the government play important roles in managing land to meet the different demands on land in the cities. The demand for low-income housing has been soaring over the decade in the cities and towns and the government capacity to provide housing has dwindled rendering the provision of housing to housing cooperatives Mubvami and Musandu-Nyamayaro, Urban local authorities in the country, including Epworth, Chitungwiza and Harare house a number of housing cooperatives created by low-income home-seekers.

In concurrence with the above statement, Chirisa, Gaza and Bandauko have noted that sometimes, politicians lead the homeless into acquiring unapproved pieces of land for occupation. When laws are subsequently enforced, the people are found wanting. This happened before Operation Murambatsvina in The evocation of the law resulted in houses being destroyed completely, with no compensation at all. The prevalence of political expedience by some politicians over purely administrative decisions has resulted in ordinary citizens bearing the brunt of development control laws and processes which at times result in the complete demolition of the properties being occupied by people in undesignated places.

Mubvami and Nyamayaro-Musandu argue that there is a strong feeling among housing practitioners in Zimbabwe that the current statutory framework for land acquisition for urban development is inadequate and poses a serious constraint to plot delivery hence the prevalence of informal settlements. The rationale of this section is to critically appraise the various key issues underpinning the study and gather more information on the subject.

These key issues unpacked in this section include housing issues informal settlements, development control, mandates of local authorities and issues related to place stewardship. There is direct interconnectedness between these various components of the study considering that the issues of housing form the bedrock of the study whilst taking cognisance of the fact that there is an assessment of development control in the three areas of study namely Epworth, Ruwa and Harare.

Subnational governments have a statutory mandate enshrined in the Urban Councils Act and the Regional, Town and Country Planning Act to ensure development control within their localities while place stewardship has been a complex issue which needs further insights to address the issue of land custodianship.

Urbanisation, Shona culture and Zimbabwean literature

In this regard these concepts are further explored in the forthcoming paragraphs. Overall, it is the responsibility of government to fund and provide most interventions but certain tasks may be delegated to other actors. From this view the issues of stewardship are vested in the incumbent government. According to NEP stewardship has an aspect of protection, hence taking responsibility for our choices.

In essence the issue of place stewardship is critical in regulating and maintaining some order in the management and utilization of a particular place by the people. In related developments Chirisa argues that place stewardship can mean the creation of a common space for operation hence the application for institutional pluralism. This assertion suggests that it is a scenario of bringing together otherwise divergent views and actors towards a common purpose premised upon the functionality thrust.

In the same manner McKinney argues that place stewardship implies stakeholders being at the forefront of determining their own destiny. Focusing on urban environments Belfast Planning Division argues that urban stewardship is a term used to describe the care for our urban environment.

On the periphery: Missing urbanisation in Zimbabwe - Africa Research Institute

It encompasses activities broadly termed as maintenance and management, as well as other means by which people and organisations can change their urban places for the better. The good stewardship of a park, for example, may include the cutting of grass, the picking of litter or the holding of formal and informal events as a creative means of sustaining these places. Local governments are charged with a variety of responsibilities as enshrined in the Constitution as well as the subsidiary legislation Chakaipa, In the Zimbabwean context, these mandates are bestowed from the legislative and constitutional provisions respectively.

In the former these provisions are provided for by the various Acts of Parliament and provisions in the Zimbabwean Constitution. Crucially, houses can now be developed even where there is no approved land-use layout plan, no cadastral surveys and no infrastructure. All these factors have contributed to urban spatial growth in rural areas. They have also contributed to de-urbanisation in the sense of loss of urban character, namely, growth of urban areas lacking the infrastructure, services and institutions Zimbabweans would normally expect.

Instead of boundary changes to incorporate rural villages into urban areas, boundaries in Zimbabwe have remained static while urban sprawl and urban populations in rural jurisdictions have expanded. As a result, the census did not capture the urban demographic growth the spatial expansion has caused. Other than for political expediency, it is not clear why this was necessary; ordinarily, statistics from the previous census should drive the delimitation of election boundaries not the other way round.

The fractious politics of the country means that changing boundaries — or leaving them unchanged — is more a political issue than a response to urgent urban management issues. Decisions are taken with an eye to electoral advantages that may accrue. This undermines direct comparison of the census data with those of previous censuses.

Reviewing the census report indicates that boundary rigidity has led to urban populations of many small settlements and undesignated urban areas being counted and reported as rural, even though the populations of these settlements were above the 2, threshold. For Harare, as described below, the population counted as rural is in the magnitude of hundreds of thousands.

In land-use and population terms, Figure 4a shows an example of the growth of urban populations in areas still designated as rural: Caledonia Farm, to the east of Harare. This is an organic growth area that now forms a continuation of the existing city. Yet by , it had between 23, and 30, plots. Another example is in Masvingo, where people have been settling on Clipsham and Victoria Ranch see Figure 4b to the south and southwest, respectively, of the city centre. But the examples of Caledonia, Victoria Ranch and Clipsham clearly show that a huge urban population was counted as rural in , due to boundaries that had not been changed to reflect urban sprawl.

Furthermore, the census did not capture the impact of spatial growth on the population statistics of these centres; and the urbanisation of rural areas is not fully recognised due to boundary rigidity. These are part of diverse temporal, regional and local variations that contradict the depiction of a generalised trend of de-urbanisation in Zimbabwe. If any de-urbanisation is taking place, it is localised and driven by factors linked to historical communal land rights, regional and international migration and circulation, droughts, and social turbulence arising from state operations and political instability.


The Constitution has a provision that seeks to establish political certainty in the election process and ensure fairer elections through regularly making boundary changes to better reflect population distribution. Clearly, delimiting local authority boundaries is intertwined with electoral and census boundaries. National elections are due in and one can expect that electoral boundaries should change to account for both the census results and any submissions various interested parties make.

When, in the near future, boundary changes are made, the urban population will show a dramatic increase since the census. Economic recovery would provide a further boost to urban investment and attract more rural—urban migrants. Meanwhile, further comprehensive analysis of disaggregated socio-spatial census data is needed to enhance the understanding of urban transformation in the country.

Sustainable Cities And Structural Transformation , p. Facts and Figures Facts and Figures , p. See also Mutopo, Patience, Women, mobility and rural livelihoods in Zimbabwe: See, for example, Government of Zimbabwe, Report of Audit Team on Issues of land management and land allocations in Chitungwiza Town and Seke Rural District, ; and Government of Zimbabwe, Report on the findings of the inter-ministerial team investigating issues at Caledonia Farm, The national average household size is 4. His current research focuses on urban land, infrastructure planning, urban finance and rural-urban linkages.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not reflect the position of DFID.