A Polygamous villager who was relocated from Chiadzwa to Arda Transau with his 14 wives in 2011 has occupied teachers’ houses to push government to allocate him more houses.
BY OUR STAFF
Philemon Johwani Kambeni, his 14 wives and over 60 children are among the 1 000 families displaced because of diamond mining in 2011.
The families were allocated a four-roomed house each, while Kambeni’s 14 wives were asked to share one eight-bedroomed house. An angry Kambeni has moved into houses meant for teachers at the nearby Chirasika Primary School as a way to force government to allocate a house for each of his wives.
On Tuesday Mutare district administrator Simon Sigauke and members from the Joint Operation Command (JOC) went to the school to try to persuade him to move out but he refused.
Sigauke said they will keep on engaging him until a lasting solution was found.
Kambeni wants each of his wives to be allocated a modest four roomed-house just like others.
The stalemate continued until last month when eight of his wives were allocated houses, leaving out six who then went and camped at the teacher’s houses.
The affected teachers have been trying in vain to remove the Kambeni family and they blame the police for failing to resolve the matter. Some of the teachers have threatened job action to force the responsible authorities to solve the matter.
However, Sigauke said negotiations would remain in progress until a lasting solution was found.
“We are still sorting out the issue and on Tuesday we went there to advise the family that they should move from the teachers’ houses but their response was not positive. It was the DA’s office and members of the JOC that went there,” said Sigauke.
“We are of the view that they should share the houses as others are doing but they are refusing. However, what they are doing is very wrong.”
One of Kambeni’s wives, Idah said the DA told her family to move out since their occupation was unlawful.
“He threatened us saying if we did not move they would force us to do so but we are not going anywhere,” she said, adding that they were prepared to die for their cause.
“We live in the same space with our children and even if it is not right we are doing it for a bigger purpose,” she said.
Sigauke shot back: “We went there to hold an honest discussion and the whole idea was to explain to the family that their invasion was unlawful.”
Arda Transau Development Trust leader Cephas Gwayagwaya implored the responsible authorities to act quickly to help the Kambeni family ahead of the rainy season.