Tension high in Goromonzi over evictions

HARARE - Tensions are escalating in Goromonzi as residents are being arbitrarily evicted from their homes, while land is  being sold for as little as a single goat.

Fingered in the scam is Tafi Tafirenyika of Tafirenyika Village in Goromonzi, who residents claim uses his political connections to carry out nefarious land deals.

While Tafirenyika was unreachable for comment, John Masimba Manyanya of Simukai Rural Residents Trust said some Goromonzi and Ruwa District Council officials were also causing confusion as they are now pegging land without talking to the occupants.

Manyanya highlighted that officials would just pitch up at a homestead with a truckload of people and declare the residents illegal occupants.

“In May last year, one man called Mhembere was told that there was going to be a clinic on his homestead,” Manyanya said.

“Within three weeks of the sudden notification, a borehole was drilled outside the fence of the homestead and they were reminded that they were illegal tenants of the land.

“For someone who has been living on the same piece of land for more than 30 years, they become hapless as they do not know where to go in the event that they are successfully evicted.”

One swindled Goromonzi man, speaking on condition of anonymity, said: “There is an incident in which Tafirenyika sold land to two different people and when it came to identifying the rightful owner, no one wanted to give it up because they had all paid.”

Manyanya said the majority of the population in Goromonzi is in their advanced years and have built their livelihoods around their homesteads for decades.

Some businesspeople were taking advantage of their financial muscle and buying communal land, while also displacing people.

“Communal land entitlement is very problematic because most of the people who come in Goromonzi are seeking a second home from the leafy suburbs of Harare and they also have a rural home elsewhere,” he said.

“Because land is cheap, they want to buy it, much to the detriment of those who already occupy the land.”

Manyanya said chiefs and headmen were now confused about the unfolding developments.

“One case is of a Makwanya who bought a piece of land for $200, a goat and cattle.

“After building his house to roof level, he was told to demolish the structure because someone had bought the plot that encroached into his land,” Manyanya said.

“We are aware that the town is fast-growing into an urban settlement but the relevant authorities have to engage the residents so that they assist them in how best to structure their homes according to expected requirements of an urban settlement and give them first priority to land ownership.”

Chief Chikwakwa has bemoaned the expansion and acquisition of land in Goromonzi, saying its growth will spur a second Caledonia.

“As a chief, I do not have the powers to give land to anyone,” Chief Chikwakwa said.

“I also do not have the authority to try anyone and give them a jail sentence.

“If you talk to those at Home Affairs and the judicial services to prosecute these people, they are constantly released and continue with their illegal land deals.”

Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo last year indicated that his ministry would investigate how land is being bought, who sells and buys it and how the money is being used.

Comments (5)

Chombo is the main beneficiary wherever there are land deals and confussions regardding land. He is the trouble causer as always working through his land barons!

Tongogara - 10 March 2014

Nhai vaChombo zvamaka kurira muchipositori kuChitomborwizi humbavha hwakabvepiko?

bujub - 10 March 2014

Goromonzi is increasingly better known for imprisonment, intrigue, and struggle. But it is always going to be the people who live there who must overcome their fear and apathy, stand up and fight these evil mongers masquerading as local government

Chandigere - 12 March 2014

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