It is very hard for anybody that witnessed or watched videos of the demolition of houses along Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo Expressway in Harare to understand what could have been going on in the mind of President Robert Mugabe when he personally ordered this monstrosity.
It is difficult to understand the humanity of the people who visited the area, saw the mansions built there, spoke to the owners of those houses and then went on to send bulldozers to demolish the houses.
The same goes for the men who sat behind the wheels of the bulldozers which reduced the massive houses into rubble. What was going on in their heads as they put their feet down on the gas pedal, maneuvering the monsters into these houses even as they were swallowed in thick clouds of white cement dust? (One of them was enjoying mahewu drink as he ripped apart tiles, timber and walls.)
How much sicker can people get? No gravity of crime deserves the kind of punishment that the owners of these houses have been made to endure. Our world is becoming more sadistic and more cruel with each passing day.
What could have been on the mind of the man who had just arrived at the scene, having been called from work by his wife, and now stood there watching as those massive steel jaws of the bulldozer pulled down his nine-bedroomed house, crushing the roof tiles and timber and tearing down the walls.
He stood there without moving, like he was in a trance. He spent no less than $100 000 to build the house but within seconds, he and his family had been made homeless.
One woman sat on a pile of bricks with her six children. They watched helplessly as a front-end loader was driven into their house through the window of their lounge. The massive steel monster was shifted upwards and then forcefully driven out, bringing down the walls in a deafening crash of brick, tile, timber and steel.
Reporters asked the woman to say something. She looked up with tears streaming down her face and said nothing. Her children gave the reporters “blank gazes”. Their father was at work and knew nothing.
John Peter Mutokambali and Jean Pierre Dusabe, victims of this dastardly act, have now approached the High Court seeking redress. They are suing the City of Harare, the Local Government and Lands ministers.
Apparently, Mutokambali had engaged professional property valuators two days before the demolitions. The valuators put the value of his stand — 2 000 square metres — at $35 000 and the house was valued at $100 000.
The valuators described the house as a “single storey building, made of a plastered and painted brick wall under a tiled roof sitting on timber trusses with an underlying layer of nicely decorated ceiling. All window and door openings are steel and glazed. Floors are tiled throughout.
“The house comprises of seven bedrooms with built-in-wardrobes, main bedroom with built-in-wardrobe, main en suite comprising of toilet seat, bath tub, shower cubicle and water closet, walls and floors cladded with tiles throughout. Dining floors cladded with tiles, kitchen nicely fitted with modern built-in cabinets, fixed with hob and oven, walls and floors cladded with tiles. Sunken lounge with floors cladded with tiles, verandah floors cladded with tiles, two bathrooms each with bath tub and toilet seat, walls cladded with tiles throughout. There was also a 5 000-litre water tank sitting on steel bar stand connected to a borehole.”
About 30 such big and beautiful houses were reduced to rubble and broken timber within a few hours on Thursday and Friday of January 21 and 22. Four days later, on Tuesday last week, over 3 000 more families were left homeless when their dwellings were also pulled down. By then, the El Niño-induced rains had begun to pound Harare and, needless to say, property worth many thousands of dollars was destroyed.
All this happened because Mugabe saw the houses and decided they were an eyesore to him. He said they gave the country a bad picture to visitors. He also opined the land was meant for future expansion of the airport. Then he said, “Vanhu ava ngavabve” (These people must be removed.)
Officials in Zanu PF and government immediately fell over each other to execute this order. They did not stop to think about the unspeakable cruelty and barbarism associated with such action. They did not consider that these people did not just sprout on this piece of land like mushroom.
It did not matter to them that destroying such massive structures in such an evil manner would not do anybody any good because the government of this country is broke and does not have any money to expand the Harare International Airport anytime soon.
Logical leaders would have stopped further development in the area and planned relocation and compensation for these people before destroying the properties. But alas, this stupid decision was made by a cruel, heartless leadership which is incapable of empathy and has absolutely no conception of the day-to-day needs of ordinary citizens.
It appears society is literally breaking at the seams right in front of our eyes. Hearts are growing colder everywhere you look — like we are being led by psychopaths and sociopaths.
These people had their entire lives’ efforts deliberately destroyed and yet there is clear paper trail to prove these people followed procedure.
It is becoming very clear that our leadership has become very sick, very twisted and very evil. Normal people don’t do these kind of things.