Chi-Town demolitions resume

CHITUNGWIZA - The housing demolition exercise here, which had hit a false start,  resumes today, according to the town’s council, starting with land baron Bonface “Nyonga Nyonga” Manyonganise’s house.

The demolitions will target several other houses identified during Friday’s tour conducted by council officials, land barons and residents’ groups.

Town clerk George Makunde confirmed that they will start demolishing houses in the wetlands area today, starting with  Manyonganise’s house as they seek to restore sanity in the troubled dormitory town.

“Nyonga Nyonga’s house has to go also, its fair for him and others  affected that since he is the  culprit who illegally sold the stands in this wetland, we start demolishing his house first to show our fairness and seriousness that we want to restore sanity in Chitungwiza,” Makunde said.

The tough-talking town clerk said it was discovered during the tour that certain areas highlighted as illegal in the report were adjacent to what may be termed “council-approved” stands which were mysteriously omitted in the audit report’s findings.

“The report has areas not visited by the audit team, probably as a result of somebody in the team with a vested interest in them not being included,” he said.

“It makes life difficult for me as land barons were asking me kuti idzi dzenyu dzecouncil makadzisiyirei. (why you left out council houses)” Manyonganise, an expelled MDC councillor, who also toured the houses, warned council against taking such an “extreme measure” against what he termed  a “legally-constituted cooperative.”

“Though I was a part of the tour I do not agree with the order given to me by council  to  demolish my house together with 26 others that my cooperative (Yemurai Disabled Cooperative), a registered one for that matter, allocated and 22 other stands allocated and authorised by a senior Chitungwiza council official. Let the authorities be warned that this is unconstitutional,” fumed Manyonganise.

The town’s housing saga took a new twist following an explosive meeting convened by the town clerk last week after angry residents led by former policeman-turned-politician Manyonganise, blocked the move by council  to continue demolishing illegally-constructed unfinished houses.

Furious residents threatened to burn down the hired earth-moving equipment and trucks, minutes after a cottage had been demolished in Zengeza 5 in an area in which Nyonga Nyonga allegedly illegally allocated stands.

At last week’s meeting, “evidence” in the form of letters and memos was produced by land barons led by Fredrick Mabamba, alleging that Conrad Muchesa, the municipality’s director of urban planning services, was also part of the stands scam as he illegally authorised many stands, not mentioned in the report.

Speculation is rife in Chitungwiza that Muchesa has handed himself to the police, after reports he was on the “wanted list” surfaced.

However, police spokeperson for Harare province said they are unaware of such a case even though a senior council official said police officers had inquired on Muchesa’s residential address.

Muchesa was on leave and is expected at work today.

The ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing in November 2013 constituted a team of commissioners to investigate the illegal land deals in Chitungwiza and Manyame Rural District Council.

Muchesa, a member of the audit team, was accused of having tinkered with the report because areas he allegedly illegally authorised stands are omitted in the findings.

Demolitions of unfinished houses constructed illegally would start first, followed by houses built on wetlands, powerline servitudes and on top of sewer lines.

Owners will be given a grace period of eight months, as government and council finds them alternative land to build, council has said.

Residents say the town’s problems are a result of political brinkmanship which created a haven for get-rich-quick scams by  opportunists who masqueraded as politicians from both Zanu PF and the MDC.

“Such people can not now seek to hide behind the law which they grossly violated with impunity,’” said a resident  who declined to be named.

However, the report makes a scathing attack on government and responsible ministries for their laxity to put checks and balances on the operations of cooperatives  which “has resulted in the cooperatives working in cahoots with government in fulfilling the land aggrandizement activities.”

It specifically named for prosecution “Councillor Dr F Mabamba (United We Stand Housing Cooperative), Bonface Manyonganise (Yemurai Disabled Cooperative), Mrs Manyana (Chitungwiza Ruvimbo Housing Cooperative), Mr Makuchete (Key College), Major T Marufu, youths led by Hamandishe and Honourable MP Chigumba.”

Residents paid a total of nearly $30 million to the land barons to acquire the illegal stands, said the report.

Meanwhile, fearing prosecution, Zanu PF-aligned barons named in the report, while not denying their illegal acts, are said to be making  frantic efforts to undermine the whole government-sanctioned Chitungwiza and Seke Rural land audit report by making political insinuations that the MDC-led council was unjustly targeting Zanu PF officials.

The report, unanimously adopted by both Zanu PF and MDC councillors, also blamed non-punitive sentences previously meted out to offenders of illegal land sales by the justice system as having led to the “proliferation of land sales and occupation, as the sentences were so light to deter would-be offenders”.

Comments (6)

But tell me how did these people end up selling stands, how did they own them in the first place. Ko wetland iri just along Warbury Road is it now designated a Housing estate?

Maita Manyuka - 3 February 2014

There are a lot of houses & big structures built in wet lands in low density areas but they are afraid of tinkering with those because most of the people are wealthy, well educated & can easily sue at the blink of an eye. Varombo ku varombo

Samanyada - 3 February 2014

Ko Darlington Nota (former mayor) and Nyakwete havamo here mu report, Ko Nyonga Nyonga vane Engineering qualification here and what were the committees he held as a councillor in his times before being expelled. These guys killed Chitungwiza with their greediness

Builder we ku Santaz - 4 February 2014

Thank you

norman munetsi - 4 February 2014

what you did is commendable but i dont know whether the report included people in Seke rural who sold state land. vamwe havana kutengesa mumapani asi minda yavo saka mubvunzo wandiinawo ndewekuti state land inotengeswa here nhai minister Chombo

huori - 4 February 2014

Nyonga nyonga manyonganise. The land baron.

joel manyore - 4 February 2014

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