HARARE - An alleged close ally of embattled Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa has been sucked in a damaging land wrangle in Harare South — with frustrated local residents accusing the bigwig of fronting for a white farmer and pushing them away from the land that they invaded in 2000 and subsequently obtained offer letters for in 2006.
The deputy chairperson of Pungwe-Chimurenga Housing Co-operative, Lawrence Tholana, told the Daily News on Sunday yesterday that the lives of the Harare South residents — who built their homes at Tizororo Farm — had changed for the worst after the politician-cum-businessman, Oliver Chidawu, claimed to be the owner of the land that they were occupying.
“Chidawu came here in 2011 and claimed that the land is his and that he has the title deeds for Tizororo Farm. But the truth is that the owner of the farm was a white man and when we chased him away in 2000 he surrendered the title deeds.
“We also know that Chidawu was renting the farm from the white man and that it was never his. We have our allocation letters which we got in 2006 to prove this,” Tholana claimed.
“It is surprising that we are now being accused of invading private land and yet we have all the papers that prove we own the land. They say we should leave the farm now,” he added.
Contacted for comment yesterday, Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere said his ministry would look into the matter this week.
“I am only hearing about the issue now and will check with our officials on Monday,” Kasukuwere said.
If Chidawu’s claims for the disputed farm are sustained, more than 2 000 families are set lose their homes.
“We have knocked on every door seeking help and answers but we are always referred back to the ministry of Lands where an official who we are supposed to see is adamant that the land belongs to a white man,” Tholana said.
Repeated efforts to get a comment from Chidawu yesterday were fruitless.
Zanu PF MP for Harare South, Shadreck Mashayamombe, who is also the party’s Harare political commissar, said he was looking into the matter with the aim of finding an amicable solution.
“What is worrying is that the people have offer letters from relevant ministries and therefore are, on the face of things, there legitimately,” Mashayamombe said.