MDC members' houses demolished

HARARE - Police have destroyed houses belonging to suspected MDC members in Epworth, in a move that has heightened tensions in the poverty-stricken peri-urban settlement.

About 20 ZRP policemen and local council police descended on Epworth’s Dombo Ramwari section where they flattened down four houses.

Owners alleged the demolitions were politically- linked.

They said they had been involved in land wars with Zanu PF supporters who invaded their vegetable gardens.

Affected families were stranded when the Daily News visited the area yesterday.

They pointed out that houses built by Zanu PF supporters who invaded land used for vegetable gardens were spared of the demolitions.

Elias Sithole, one of the affected residents, said Zanu PF members invaded the vegetable gardens where they pegged stands and sold them for about $400.

In response, Sithole and other affected residents started building houses on the land invaded by the Zanu PF members.

It is these houses that were demolished.

“This is really scandalous. The houses which were supposed to be demolished were those of the people who invaded our land. But to our surprise our houses are the ones being demolished and not the invaders. We cannot accept this,” Sithole said.

“Be it MDC or Zanu PF, we are all human beings and we will rebuild our houses. Let everyone know this.”

Two of the affected residents were arrested for resisting the demolitions and were only released after the intervention of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.

Another resident, Peter Makani, said the move by the police was a clear indication that law enforcement agents were partisan.

Affected residents numbering about 15, cried foul that their vegetable gardens had been “stolen” by Zanu PF supporters who enjoyed support from the police.

“If there are people who must be arrested it is Zanu PF members who have invaded our land. Stands are being sold to people who have Zanu PF cards."

“We tried reporting them to the police but nothing was ever done,” said one affected resident Goronga Nyangwete.

Epworth is a politically  volatile area where ugly scenes of violence have often been recorded.

Efforts to get a comment from the police were fruitless.

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