HARARE - Victims of Airport illegal structures demolitions have been resettled in Harare’s South’s Stoneridge suburb with the MP for the area Shadreck Mashayamombe yesterday appealing to elements resisting the resettlement exercise to heed the government’s call.
Speaking to the affected families in Harare South yesterday, Mashayamombe appealed to donor partners to chip in and assist in providing shelter to the newly-resettled families.
“We have been in touch with the committee spearheading the process and they have told us that this will be completed soon, you are now all here and as the MP, I would like to urge you to maintain peace and heed the government call.
“I know there are some people who are resisting and are even threatening to engage Sadc,” said Mashayamombe.
While Mashayamombe noted that most of the families have agreed to be moved, he admitted that there were some elements who are bent on dragging President Robert Mugabe in the demolitions issue “even though they were illegally settled”.
“We have always maintained that the houses were illegal and people who were settled there knew it was a transit camp, however there is a housing cooperative going by the name Nyikavanhu that sold the land to people mostly Nigerians and they are leading the resistance.
“I have been told by some that they want to drag the President to the African Union or Sadc. What is shocking is that these people know that there are settled there illegally.”
Apparently, at the behest of Mugabe, the City of Harare — working with the Zanu PF leadership — has been demolishing homes in Arlington farm adjacent to the Airport road but it has not been smooth sailing.
“I would like to urge all those whose monies were squandered by Nyikavanhu to engage the police and have the people who sold them the stands arrested.
“There is no need to politicise this issue but only to make sure that justice is served. As we speak, we are aware that when people are removed some come in the evening and resettle there again,” said Mashayamombe.
Speaking on the sidelines of the same meeting Smith Marara, a member of the Zanu PF central committee and former MP for Harare South, said as far as he remembers most of the people whose houses lay adjacent to Airport road were aware that they settled there illegally.
“We have asked the police to move in and monitor the process because there are some people resisting the programme. Some are even saying Mashayamombe and the president should first move to Stoneridge. They say they have the papers but the truth is in 2005, government moved them and some returned.”
“Attempts to move them in 2007 and 2011 were difficult because of the elections. When Mashayamombe became MP, he told these people that they would be moved.
“But those from Nyikavanhu Housing Cooperative were assured by their landlords that they will not be moved,” said Marara.
Marara traced the Arlington Farm settlers to the days when Hubert Nyanhongo was still the MP for Harare South.
Zanu PF chairperson for the district, Isiah Murove said some rogue elements are seeking to benefit from the resettlement programme.
“People who are resisting are not originally from the area but opportunists. We have always known that we were there illegally so we are happy that we now have some legal place to stay,” he said.