Police demolish homes in Epworth

HARARE - Close to 200 Epworth families have become homeless after police razed their homes to the ground, in a case that exposes Zanu PF’s abuse of state power to milk votes from poor residents.

Affected residents appeared shocked by the police action, especially since the illegal settlement had the blessings of the local Zanu PF leadership which parcelled out the land.

The residents said Zanu PF officials gave them the land, hence were surprised with the demolitions.

“The police came last week, I think on Friday and told us we had to vacate since the owners of the land, Sunway City, wanted to use their land,” said one woman holding a crying baby.

“We were given time to take out our property but we have nowhere to go,” she said.

Sunway City (Pvt) Ltd is a subsidiary of the Industrial Development Corporation of Zimbabwe, a government agency mandated with developing world-class integrated residential, commercial, industrial, institutional and recreational parks.

About two-dozen anti-riot police officers kept watch as the demolitions took place.

A mother of twins put her babies to the ground in the open space saying she had nowhere else to accommodate them.

Some of the affected residents told the Daily News that the timing of the demolitions was “bad” since it has begun raining.
Others said they were worried about their children’s education.

“Please tell me, what do I do now? My kids need to go to school. How am I going to manage this situation?” cried one woman.

Fights broke out at the scene while a man duped into paying a bribe to save his home from demolition caused a scene.

He could be heard shouting: “I want my money.”

Residents alleged that some people claiming to be representing Zanu PF went round the neighbourhood taking residents’ money on the premise that those who paid would be saved.

As it emerged that even those who had paid bribes were being affected, people who claimed to be the Zanu PF leadership in the area had a hard time gathering people around as some publicly stated that they were done with the party.

One woman who was walking away from the call said: “I am never again going to listen to these people. I am very disappointed. What else do they want to tell me when I have lost my home?”

However, a few heeded the call and started doing slogans in support of President Robert Mugabe and denouncing Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

The party leadership of the area told the families they were “running around” and contacting “influential” Zanu PF officials to come up with a solution.

“Zanu PF children are strong and they listen. We are organising and trying to come up with a solution. I have come here because I am concerned,” said one man dressed in a cheap brown suit and acting as the leader. - Bridget Mananavire

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