Zimbabwe: Land Barons Convert Road Into Stand

24 November 2020

Municipal Reporter

The owners of four houses in a close in Unit N, Chitungwiza, no longer have access to a road after land barons allocated a stand in the midst of the road leading up to the houses.

The person, who was allocated the stand is already constructing a house, which is now at window level.

Two of the homeowners that were affected by the development Messrs Suspicion Kubandikira and Trust Mashekere, who bought stands in the close in 2010 said they were now forced to park their cars elsewhere since they can no longer drive up to their homes.

Even our news crew had to park its vehicle six houses away from the affected houses as the road is practically impassable.

The two showed this paper offer letters dated February 2010 issued by former Chitungwiza housing director Jemina Gumbo proving that the affected people were indeed the real beneficiaries of the stands.

"Allocation of infill residential stand offer letter stand number 3099 Unit N your application to be allocated a residential stand in Chitungwiza Municipality Area has been successful," read part of the offer letter.

Interestingly, the cost of servicing the stand was valued at $200.

Messrs Kubandikira and Mashekere said the problem started last year after Bernadate Square and Brighton Garura who sold them the stands started demanding extra payment.

"We bought the 200 square metre stands in 2010 from Bernadate and Garura at a cost of US$3 000 each.

"They then facilitated our paperwork at council, including offer letters, site plans and lease agreements," said Mr Kubandikira.

"The problem came last year when they approached us saying we need an extra US$1 500 of which we declined.

"To our surprise violent youths came and assaulted us before pegging the road. Four houses including mine no longer have access to the road."

Mr Mashekere chipped in saying they had lost hope as the suspected land barons boast of having close links to Chitungwiza Municipality, the Judiciary and security forces.

"The paperwork is from the local authority, but surprisingly Bernadate and Garura came and showed us new papers dated 2019 indicating that we had actually invaded their new stand situated in the road," he said.

The parties are now fighting each other in the courts. Concerted efforts to get in touch with Square and Garura were fruitless as they were not answering their mobile phones the whole of yesterday.

Chitungwiza Residents Trust director Ms Alice Kuveya recently lambasted council officials for conniving in corrupt activities.

"Honestly, as residents we are tired of corrupt council officials. We are asking the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC), and the Minister of Local Government and Public Works to take action now.

"As residents we will continue to fight for our properties.

"There is not going to be a stand in the middle of the road. The owner should go and get back his money," she said.

This is just a tip of an iceberg with Chitungwiza Municipality officials recently having allegedly altered a stand layout plan in Unit N Extension before allocating a residential stand in the middle of a road that has been in existence since 2006.

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