War veterans take over municipal halls

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War veterans and known Zanu PF youths are camped at municipal halls in Kwekwe refusing to vacate the premises to pave way for the constitution outreach programmes.
Kwekwe mayor Shadreck Tobaiwa said the ex-freedom fighters and youths have been camped in Mbizo and Amaveni council halls respectively for the last four months. The war veterans, Tobaiwa said, did not seek permission from the municipality to use the facilities and their presence there scared residents who were reminded of the 2008 political violence which, in urban areas, played out in such places as council halls.
“A group of people calling themselves war veterans have for four months been refusing to vacate council property. They never applied to council to occupy the premises and they are refusing to move,” he said.
Tobaiwa said council was losing thousands of dollars in potential revenue because they were unable to hire out the properties as prospective clients were threatened by the presence of the illegal occupants.
“We have tried to remove these people from the halls to accommodate Copac outreach programmes but without success,” Tobaiwa said.
Perpetrators of the 2008 political violence remain menacingly visible in Kwekwe and their behaviour is causing anxiety among residents.
Two war veterans identified as Yakobe and Musanhi are said to be in charge of the Amaveni base while another war veteran identified only as Matasva heads the Mbizo base.The halls were used as Zanu PF campaign and retribution bases prior to and during the 2008 bloody presidential election runoff in June.
“We now have a problem with ratepayers who want to use the facilities. These facilities are owned by the ratepayers and residents of Kwekwe and they have a right to use them without being intimidated by these unruly characters,” Tobaiwa said.