The partially constructed buildings now risk dilapidating into a morass of concrete and bricks. Such has become the fate of the proposed service station and food court near Matapi Police Station in Mbare, that Mashwede Diesel Services had begun constructing earlier this year.
The company, owned by local businessman, Alex Mashamhanda, had already sunk about half a million dollars into the US$1,2 million project before a shadowy Zanu PF-aligned youth militia, Chipangano, ordered that the project be stopped.
Zanu PF Harare province youth chairman, Jim Kunaka, earlier this year told The Standard that he would mobilise youths to cut short the construction project, arguing that local residents were not consulted.
True to his word, over 100 youths armed with weapons attacked workers at the site, destroying property and injuring Mashamhanda along with nine workers.
Mashamhanda last week confirmed that he had stopped construction after getting orders from the Harare City Council.
“We are presently unable to resume construction because we received a letter from the City (council) of Harare instructing us to stop construction although no specific reasons were given,” said Mashamhanda.
Mashamhanda said the stoppage had seriously affected him, as he was supposed to repay a loan he had borrowed from a local financial institution.
“We had planned to have completed the project by the end of March this year, but although we have some personnel guarding the site and property, it’s all costing us money, which should have gone towards construction,” he said.
Council will assist Mashwede : Mayor
Harare City Mayor Muchadeyi Masunda, explained that the council has an obligation to follow through on the resolution authorising Mashwede Diesel services to go ahead with the development.
“We as council, from a policy perspective will make sure Mashamhanda gets all the assistance he needs. That development will ultimately benefit stakeholders in that locality and change the landscape of Mbare positively,” he said, adding that the law enforcement agents, including the ZRP and council police, would have to be roped in, should vigilante groups seek to stall the council-authorised project.