7 November 2012

Zimbabwe: Nkomo Land Dispute Settled

Government Has Reached a Compromise With the Mining Industry Pension Fund (mipf) Over a Disputed Piece of Land in Harare Where It Intends to Construct the Statue of the Late Vice President Joshua Nkomo. The compromise over the piece of land near Karigamombe Centre, will see the statue co-existing with planned premises the MIFP intends to construct at that site that would be leased to a local food court.

The "golden triangle," as the piece of land is referred to by the pension fund on account of its shape, is owned by the MIPF, but government had intended to erect Nkomo's effigy there in 2010, leading to a legal dispute.

Government lost the case in court, with the Attorney General's Office conceding that the land belonged to the MIPF, throwing the construction of the statue into doubt.

Two years down the line, both parties have reached a compromise to co-exist, the MIPF confirmed to The Financial Gazette yesterday.

"We reached a compromise with the Ministry of Home Affairs and our building is going to co-exist with the Joshua Nkomo statue. The statue is going to be accommodated on site," the MIPF said.

The pension fund's lawyer, Raymond Moyo, said the existing legal position is that the land belongs to the MIPF. This week, the MIPF started clearing the site to pave way for the pension fund's building.

The pension fund had argued in 2010 that the erection of the statue, with its rights to the land not having first been recognised, would have prejudiced it by by disablign the MIPF from taking corrective action as the statue would be a national monument as per the National Museums and Monuments Act.

Initially, Harare town clerk Tendai Mahachi, has bungled the matter after declaring that the disputed land belonged to Indigeco (Private) Limited, before backtracking when the matter went to court.

Matters were also complicated by the Nkomo's family's opposition to the site's proximity to Karigamombe Centre, named after President Robert Mugabe's grandfather.

Karigamombe translates to "one who fells the bull", a name President Mugabe was commonly referred to by his supporters in the early 1980's at the height of his differences with Nkomo whose party, ZAPU had as its party symbol, a bull.

There also been delays in erecting another statue in honour of Nkomo in Bulawayo in a matter that epitomises poor planning and gross incompetence in projects undertaken by government.

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