Chitown saga takes new twist

CHITUNGWIZA - The Chitungwiza housing saga took a new twist yesterday after it emerged that one of the members of the land audit team was involved in illegally parcelling out housing stands.

This emerged at an explosive meeting in council chambers convened by the town clerk, which Zanu PF provincial chairperson for Harare Amos Midzi attended.

The land barons, led by  Fredrick Mabamba, produced stacks of letters, memos and even a map to show that what they did was approved by council, especially by the municipality’s director of urban  planning services,  Conrad Muchesa, a member of the audit team.

It emerged that Muchesa would illegally issue land to homeseekers, abusing his office then, and come back through the back door to repossess the land.

Mabamba expressed  bitterness that Muchesa was not present at the meeting.

“I am bitter that Muchesa is not here as I wanted him to hear what I was going to say about him,” Mabamba said.

Though the land barons had loads of  evidence of council officials’ complicity in the land deals, they did little to deny that what they did was illegal, with Manyonganise implicating Muchesa.

Marvelous Kumalo of the Chitungwiza Residents Trust attacked council, land developers and cooperatives for the current mess.

“Council failed to take leadership since it was supposed to timeously stop these illegal developments,” he said. 

Yesterday’s meeting comprised most stakeholders, including the local police chief, land barons, residents’ representatives and the town’s mayor Phillip Mutoti.

The meeting was called by George Makunde following an audit report which had instructed council to demolish illegal structures within eight months, starting with slabs.

Makunde, accused in the latest report of not implementing previous land audit reports, wants a local solution  to the saga  after council had last week embarked on a demolition exercise in Zengeza 5 which was foiled after police refused to render assistance.

“The country has its laws, let’s take ownership of this mess,” Makunde said. 

“We need to accept that we have messed up and resolve these issues internally, if that fails we will be forced to go the external route.

“I wish to request to have that  authority to proceed with the demolition of slabs from this meeting.”

He then castigated the land barons following reports that they were seeking protection fees from affected residents and warned them to desist from such behaviour.

Bonface Manyonganise, accused of illegally allocating land, had led residents to block the demolitions after council had demolished one cottage.

The town clerk  implored Midzi to approach the deputy minister for local government Joel Biggie Matiza.

Danny Masukuma and Christopher Chigumba, both staunch Zanu PF supporters, tried to blame party politics on the current mess, with Chigumba specifically attacking mayor Phillip Mutoti for belonging to an opposition party with a sinister agenda in this matter.

Masukuma, however advised council not to infringe on Section 74 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe amendment 20 which prohibits evictions and demolitions of houses without a court order.

Midzi sobered up the matter saying all those responsible for allocating land to the “innocent and ignorant” residents should also take responsibility for their actions, admitting that perpertrators should be prosecuted as a matter of law.

Comments (5)

People should stop focusing solely on the problem and start providing solutions. 'Yes' corrupt officials gave out land, thats a given and unfortunately despite what they did peoples house are still at risk of being torn down that is the reality. Either compensate these people or leave their houses alone..

Fredrick Johns - 29 January 2014

Next the responsible authority should it before elections and not after and also the goverment should put a legislation which prohibits political parties to use land as a campaining tool as this is one of the major reason why land is allocated illigally.Land is a Natural resource and God given which should not belong to any political party ruling or not ruling.

cHEDUMBA - 29 January 2014

Khumalo dont give up with your CHITREST to fight for the rights of the residents since you were also part and parcel of the syndicate of land barons your recently unit O house pairi hapana kumira mushe. Thank you Khumalo for being a patriotic citizen although Builder weku Santaz

taurai muponda - 29 January 2014

Why is the list of houses due for demolition not being made public. With all this confusion, mistakes are bound to be made by overzealous bulldozer operators destroying other houses not ear-marked for demolition. Where the affected house owners given letters formally informing them that their homes will be demolished?

Joboringo - 29 January 2014

Solutions are needed. Authorities should start solving the the problems without disadvantaging the generality of the people as they are always not represented in these meetings. If an individual is having all the necessary papers and ready to abide by regulations why then stop him from further developing the stands.

Bigboy Munhu - 30 January 2014

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