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Grief as bulldozers raze Harare mansions

THREE women stood helplessly as their nine-roomed, roof-under-tile house was being razed to the ground by Harare City’s Council’s giant bulldozers.

MOSES MATENGA

The demolitions were taking place at a residential settlement along the Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo Expressway, after President Robert Mugabe described the houses as an eyesore.

One of the women, of Nigerian origin as was later confirmed, shed tears as she watched her family investment reduced to rubble in a matter of seconds.

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“This is sad. But we bought this stand and we were assured that the land was legal. How can this happen like this,” cried one of the women, trembling with rage.

There was nothing the victims could do to resist the more than 50 armed municipal police officers who were standing guard as the bulldozers pulled down the houses.

More than 30 houses have so far been demolished in the settlement and more than 1 000 are expected to go down this week.

A shaken man, also a victim and neighbour to the Nigerians, said he was called by his wife who told him of the demolitions while he was at work.

“Only last week, we went to see Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere on the issue and he said he was only reading about that in the newspapers.

“But today I was called by my wife while I was at work saying they were demolishing houses here,” he said.

“How can they just come without any notice like this?”

Two of the family’s wardrobes had posters of Emmanuel Makandiwa of the United Family International Church and another of Walter Magaya of Prophetic Healing and Deliverance Ministry, an indication the family was of a Christian background.

A woman, employed by a local bank judging by her uniform, could also be seen crying while taking out her property to a waiting truck.

At one of the houses, six children and their mother sat as they watched their house standing for the very last time as the bulldozer operator drove towards it.

They looked distraught and could not stand or speak. Questions on how they felt drew blank gazes.

Meanwhile, the bulldozer operator appeared unfazed, taking sips from a bottle of water, unperturbed by comments from onlookers who kept on asking: “So how do you sleep at home after doing this? Do you have a house yourself?”

People were also asking what wrong they had done to deserve such treatment from government and council.

“Then you hear someone saying Zimbabwe is free,” remarked one man as he passed by the rubble.

Several people who came in to witness the demolitions were from a nearby settlement, and their houses are also likely to go down this week.

“From here, they are coming to our houses. Imagine if they can demolish such big houses, ours will also be brought down,” said one of the residents.

Council police got physical and attacked a man they suspected to be mobilising fellow settlers to resist the demolitions.

The man was dragged to the council truck nearby where he said he was interrogated before being released.

Houses along the Expressway were demolished after an order by Mugabe, who said the houses were an eyesore and should be removed since they are too close to the Harare International Airport.

The MDC-T, which controls Harare City Council, accused Zanu PF of demolishing people’s homes, describing the move as unconstitutional.

“We call upon all local authorities in the country to exercise restraint and circumspection when it comes to the decision to demolish houses,” MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu said.

“More importantly, no house should ever be demolished without strictly taking into consideration the provisions of Section 74 of the Constitution.”

The demolitions began last year and council has vowed to continue with the exercise until it rids the capital of illegal settlements.

10 Responses to Grief as bulldozers raze Harare mansions

  1. TruthBTold January 24, 2016 at 8:52 am #

    Words fail! The true eyesore in Zimbabwe is ZPF!

  2. Willard Mubvumbi January 24, 2016 at 10:27 am #

    Nunca lluvia, pero derrama.

  3. Dr. Junior January 24, 2016 at 11:54 am #

    Next time hamuvake pasina ma title deeds

  4. Predator January 24, 2016 at 3:01 pm #

    kana kuvapa along railway line vanotovaka futi vanhu vacho ava.

  5. The Saint January 24, 2016 at 4:30 pm #

    This is not the first time this has has happened, but we sim not to understand as much as we pride ourselves as being very educated. In future we should check with the relevant authority (in this case City of Harare) and who ever would be selling the stands if a PERMIT has been issued for the development of the land into residential stands. As long as we don’t check this is going to happen time and time again. BE WARNED

  6. dzasukwa January 24, 2016 at 4:58 pm #

    ngatifundeyi,card rezanu harishandiswe kutenga stand.

    • tmutekwe January 25, 2016 at 1:11 pm #

      Very true. Buying a house/residential stand is a cumbersome process that involves many parties including lawyers and conveyencers. I am baffled that a woman “who seemed like she works in a bank judging by her uniform” did not seem to know such procedures before she got her family entangled in shoddy and fraudulent land transactions;because banks like CABS are heavily involved in these property transactions. Lets not rush to buy something merely because it appears like an offer made in heaven because oftenly such purchases turn out to be just that; hot air/spiritual purchases . Whilst I commiserate with these families but they only have themselves to blame for choosing shortcuts to achieve something as laborious as property purchasing instead of engaging professionals to verify the authenticity of their transactions with dubious, unregistered estate agents .

  7. nguwo nguwo January 24, 2016 at 5:23 pm #

    kungomera pese pese sehohwa

  8. Gwedeja January 25, 2016 at 4:06 am #

    ndodzimba dzemunana ka idzo. ma posters ana Magaya na Makandiwa anodeyi mudzimba dzenyu? are they yao God

  9. munhu vamwari January 25, 2016 at 9:49 am #

    “Two of the family’s wardrobes had posters
    of Emmanuel Makandiwa of the United
    Family International Church and another of
    Walter Magaya of Prophetic Healing and
    Deliverance Ministry, an indication the family
    was of a Christian background.’
    We always tell you and we say it again judgement nights or more doesn’t work even prophecies of this year being fine yr, u can judge own yr own but dont forget to see if yr papas are true when they prophecy opposite

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