HomeLocalGrace Mugabe’s orphanage leaves families homeless

Grace Mugabe’s orphanage leaves families homeless

 

The residents bought their stands way back in 1998 from the Mazowe Rural District Council and had completed building their houses. But the residents were given notices to vacate their houses a year ago and promised alternative accommodation and compensation but up to now some of them have not been offered anything.

The residents last week expressed concern that they were not being informed of their fate after Mugabe, two weeks ago, moved in 15 orphaned children into the heavily guarded centre to coincide with her 46th birthday.

“They came here three months ago measuring our stands and evaluating developments we have done but since then we have never heard anything from them,” said one resident who requested to remain anonymous.

“I don’t even know if they will give me another stand.”

Others said they had been given stands in another area but were in the dark on whether or not  they would be compensated.

The angry residents have since stopped making any further developments to their houses.

“My worry is that she may decide to throw us out without compensation and nothing will happen to her,” said another resident.

“If she had the audacity to take from us land we got from council what will stop her from refusing to compensate us?”

Construction of the housing complex, which was supposed to be officially opened in 2008, is still in progress. Some of the structures are still at foundation level.

The First Family has a farm, Iron Mask, which it seized from a white commercial farmer in the same area where it is constructing a milk processing plant and growing crops.

Some residents were not even aware that Grace Mugabe had already brought children to the orphanage although they are a stone’s throw from the centre.

“We don’t dare go inside there or ask about the goings-on because those people will beat you up,” said another resident. “The sooner they find us alternative land the better.”

Grace Mugabe’s spokesman Lawrence Kamwi professed ignorance of the fate of the residents facing eviction.

“I know about the centre but not about this issue (evictions) you are talking about so I can’t comment,” Kamwi said.

Efforts to get a comment from Mashonaland Central governor Martin Dinha, under whose constituency the centre falls, were fruitless last week.

But the residents said if the First Lady was serious about adopting orphans she should not have allowed the collapse of the Child Survival and Development Foundation founded by the late Sally Mugabe.

Mugabe’s first wife is renowned for having had a soft heart for disadvantaged members of the community, especially children.

Grace Mugabe’s projects have always raised controversy. She was once given resources and allocated land in Harare’s Hopley area but abandoned the project under unclear circumstances.

Apart from ordering residents off their homes in Mazowe, the First Lady has also been accused of grabbing farms from other black Zimbabweans.

In 2008, she was in the headlines after grabbing Gwina Farm in Banket from High Court Judge Ben Hlatshwayo, who had also seized it from a white commercial farmer.
She however can be credited for reviving Danhiko Project, an educational centre for the disabled in Msasa which was fast- crumbling due to lack of funding.

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