10 January 2018

Zimbabwe: Zanu-PF Dishes Out 135K Stands to Epworth Residents

Photo: IRIN

More than 135 000 Epworth residents are set benefit from a housing scheme meant to alleviate accommodation challenges in the shanty area, as Zanu PF moves to lure votes ahead of this year's harmonised elections.

Epworth Member of Parliament, Zalera Makari told 263Chat that the stands will benefit residents who have over the years struggled to get proper houses.

"We have moved in to give long-time residents of Epworth some housing stands so that they will become home owners and have title deeds," she said.

Makari said it is part of Zanu PF's strategy to lure more voters for the party and motivate them to vote.

To date, more than 10 000 people have registered to vote in Epworth, a number which Makari said is too small for the highly populated area.

"When we won the by-election in 2015, we promised the people some houses and that is what we are moving in to do," she noted.

The 200 square meter stands, have however been prowled on by suspected land barons, who are reportedly amassing a number of stands selling them for double the normal prices.

Makari urged residents to report any cases of corruption to the local board so that perpetrators will be brought to book.

Ward 2 Councillor Japhet Chiromo noted that although the stands come as a relief, more people still need to have accommodation.

"Most of the people, who stay in this area are poor hence they have a problem in terms of building proper houses.

They just build temporary structures, so when it rains, the houses are easily affected. People end up sleeping outside during the rainy season. We need more of these stands," he said.

Residents who spoke to 263Chat, however, said they would not be bribed by stands something they say has always been used towards national elections.

"This is cheap politics from Zanu PF, they want to force us to vote for them with such projects which never bear fruit. We want this regime to go and pave way for able leaders these houses will be given to Zanu PF supporters while opposition party members will be sidelined," said Moreblessing Chipanze, an Epworth resident.

However, the allegations were dismissed by Councillor Chiromo, who said the council is there for the benefit of everyone and the stands will be fairly distributed.

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