Chitrest up in arms with Mangwana

CHITUNGWAIZA - Battle lines have been drawn between the Chitungwiza Residents Trust  (Chitrest) and lawyer-cum-politician Paul Mangwana over who should be the legitimate representative to rescue residents whose houses face demolitions here.

Tension in the demolition saga has risen after Chitrest issued a press statement accusing Mangwana of  having orchestrated a plan to fleece desperate residents of their cash in return for legal representation to acquire title deeds for their illegal structures.

Mangwana and fired ex-councillor, Frederick Mabamba, are said to have entered into a deal involving the Zimbabwe Property Owners Trust (ZiPot) owned by Mangwana and partners and the United We Stand Housing Cooperative led by Mabamba to assist affected residents to acquire title deeds.

However, Mangwana hit back and told the Daily News on Sunday in an interview yesterday that Chitrest feels threatened by his organisation and should realise that confrontation does not solve matters. 

“You know that when two elephants fight, it’s the grass that suffers so we have decided to use and encourage dialogue and conciliation to alleviate the suffering of affected residents. Is there anything wrong if I find two people fighting and bring them together to find an amicable solution?” he said.

Chitrest said according to the deal, residents who own houses in areas earmarked for demolitions are required  to pay $20 to ZiPot to become members and earn the privilege of being  represented in court by Mangwana’s law firm.

Mabamba through his cooperative is accused by government of having been behind 90 percent of the shoddy land deals in the scandal infested town while Mangwana’s firm is also representing council as a debt collector against residents who are in rates arrears.

“How come that Mr Paul Mangwana is purporting to be representing both the Chitungwiza Municipality as its debt collector and on the other hand through ZiPot representing the residents and ratepayers of the town? We feel there is a serious clash of interest in his dealings.”

“While we feel that residents in this predicament should get our full support and solidarity to have their stands or houses regularised by the local authority, we do not want the affected residents to continue losing their hard earned cash to chancers in these trying times in the name of getting help,” said Chitrest.

But Mangwana denied that his latest move was tantamount to a conflict of interest.

“There is no conflict whatsoever since I am not mandated to represent the Chitungwiza council in court but am engaged only by the municipality as their debt collector.

“My organisation’s role is to ensure that every person who has a stand in this country has title to the land,” said the legislator.

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