via ‘Zanu PF betrayed us’ – DailyNews Live 27 April 2014 by Albert Masaka
CHITUNGWIZA – For Justice Mhonda, a fruit and vegetable vendor, the world has turned upside down as he is suffering from a deep sense of betrayal by those whom he loved and trusted the most.
He was first betrayed by his wife of 10 years, who left him while he was busy campaigning for the ruling party Zanu PF during last year’s elections.
And to add salt to injury, the Zanu PF-led government now intends to demolish his only pride — a house under construction in Unit A in Seke.
What is even more painful for Mhonda to swallow is the fact that this is happening a few months after his party won the vote.
However, the final straw for Mhonda was when Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo gave him and about 4 000 others three weeks to demolish their houses after a government audit declared his area as a wetland.
This means that the area is supposed to be an open space and is not fit for building houses according to the town’s layout plan.
The Daily News on Sunday caught up with a tearful Mhonda who narrated his ordeal on the sidelines of a media tour organised by Fredrick Mabamba last week.
Mabamba is the man allegedly at the centre of the storm concerning the housing scam in Chitungwiza.
“Can you imagine that my daughter is now staying with my in-laws after my wife ran away? I am now in great pain because the same people I was helping are the ones who now want to completely destroy my life by demolishing my house,” Mhonda said.
Mhonda is one of the many residents who must be heaving a sigh of relief, following a court ruling last week, a day after the tour, ordering council to abide to the Constitution and stop demolishing houses without a court order.
However, the stakes are still high since a municipality official has told the Daily News on Sunday that council would pursue the matter by seeking a court order first as required by the law.
Curiously, all the affected residents interviewed claimed to be bona fide Zanu PF supporters and their anguish combined with anger emanating from what they regarded as betrayal by their party could not be hidden from their facial expressions.
Mabamba, a councillor for ward 25, who was suspended by Chombo and is now waiting for the outcome of a hearing conducted earlier this month but whose results are yet to be announced, claims the 3 080 votes he received in his ward were the root cause of his current problems from his enemies.
Another resident Bernard Chatora, who, like most people said to be occupying land illegally, views Mabamba as a hero for providing desperate home seekers with land to build houses but the government is of another view as only recently, Chombo’s deputy Joel Biggie Matiza, attacked those who were illegally parcelling out land in cahoots with crooked municipality officials in Chitungwiza for running a parallel municipality.
Chatora said, “When I go to vote I should not do so coming from the bush, or as a squatter, it would have been better if they (council) were demanding a top up from what we have already paid, if they decide to go ahead with the demolitions I would rather die than demolish my own house which has council papers.”
“Even Borrowdale is a wetland,” angrily added the resident from Zengeza 4 area, commonly referred to as Pa Gomba by locals.
Other residents like Talent ‘Seiko Seiko’ Kunaka are more aggressive in expressing their willingness to battle it out with the government as they feel that politicians like Chombo only use them to win votes and soon after completely forget about their plight.
“If the minister had the people at heart, he should not have issued such a cruel statement. What we know is that when a child cries, a good father will give him a sweet to stop the cries but in our case Chombo, as our father is instead throwing boiling water at us, “ Kunaka said.
He added that; “The truth is that we are not going to demolish our houses, I bought this stand before elections in August 2012, however less than 100m away the houses you see over there sanctioned by (Conrad) Muchesa (urban planning director) are suspiciously being left out.
“We are youths who are empowered by our President Robert Mugabe, our elections did not have violence so they (council officials) now want violence, which they will get.”
Government’s report also condemned the housing units created by the United We Stand Housing Cooperative alleging that they are on wetlands and had duplicate numbers among other issues.
A top council official, Alfonce Tinofa, has already resigned soon after being implicated in the scandal for conniving with land barons in the issuance of duplicate stand numbers.
The report recommends relocation of affected beneficiaries with council offer letters and the arrest of perpetrators of the illegal subdivisions.