Zimbabwe: Residents, Former Top Soldier Fight Over Knowe Chairmanship

24 September 2020

KNOWE residents in Norton are baying for the blood of former Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) colonel, Todson Ruramai, who they accuse of clinging on to the association's chairmanship and abusing their subscriptions.

Knowe is an upmarket suburb where the late music superstar Oliver Mtukudzi lived until the time of his death last year.

It was developed by Eddies Pfugari Properties, a company owned by the late property mogul Edward Nyanyiwa, popularly known as Eddies Pfugari.

Pfugari died in February last year, leaving a US$30 million business empire, which his children are now fighting over through the High Court.

However, Ruramai is standing accused by members of the Knowe Residents Association (KRA) for chairing the association for 18 years despite being eligible for only two terms of two years each.

Some residents have since established a breakaway association, which goes by the same name, but say they are having nightmares trying to access financial books and records which Ruramai is holding on to.

The former top army official is also accused of using the association's money to fund legal costs relating to lawsuits he unsuccessfully instigated against the developer - Eddies Pfugari Properties.

The chairman of the breakaway association only identified as Ndoro, said the residents were up-in-arms with Ruramai's holding on the chairmanship.

"He does not want to leave the seat. He has been there for 18 years, yet our constitution says one can only chair the association for a maximum of four years. He has been there since 2002. That's where our contention is. He is basically a one-man committee," Ndoro said.

"We cannot, for now, say with certainty that he abused funds because he is holding on to our financial books which we want to be audited, but we know for sure he uses the money to pay a lawyer in all the cases without the blessing of the community. The community wants to talk amicably with the developer so that we can understand each other."

Contacted for comment by NewZimbabwe.com, Ruramai confirmed he has been clinging on to the chairmanship, but said this was because, in all elections that have been held, he was the only paid-up member.

"They attempted to stage what I can call a coup de grace against me in 2017 where they purported to pass a vote of no confidence against me, which was not even on the agenda. They are sick," he said.

"They were not eligible to even be in that meeting according to our constitution because they were not paid-up members at the time, let alone get into positions. They were all in arrears and so the vote of no confidence was null and void.

"Everyone in that meeting was not eligible to vote and in such a scenario, I had no option but cling onto the chairmanship," he said.

He also denied abusing funds through legal bills saying, "I have the power of attorney to represent the residents in court and the money has been used well."

But Ndoro shot back saying, "He is just by himself. He goes to court on his own. He hasn't held any meeting for the past seven or so years which gave him that mandate. He has overstayed and he cannot purport to represent us."

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