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Invaders in talks with building owner


Zanu PF is trying to “quietly” deal with the issue of the building invaded by its youths in province, it has emerged.

The party elders in the province were reportedly engaging the owner of the building, identified as an Indian businessman who runs a uniform empire in the city.

Zanu PF youths in Bulawayo on Thursday invaded a building in the city centre, claiming they had been galvanised into action by Vice-President John Nkomo’s assertion that people of Bulawayo were lazy.

The youths, who claimed the building had been lying idle since 2003, said they wanted to demonstrate they did not suffer from “inertia” and would press ahead with company seizures.

The Zanu PF secretary for economic affairs for Ward 1, Fungai Mandisekwe, told NewsDay last Thursday afternoon that they had taken over the building along 13th Avenue between Robert Mugabe Way and George Silundika Street “and (would) seek to engage the owners”.

On Friday, Mandisekwe was not answering his phone as he was locked in meetings for the entire day.

When contacted on Saturday morning, Mandisekwe referred NewsDay to the “elders in the province” whom he said were talking to the owner of the building.

Contacted for comment, the Zanu PF provincial youth chairman Butholezwe Gatsi professed ignorance over the issue.

“I have only read about that matter in your newspaper. I don’t know who those youths are. I am just the youth chairman in the province and it’s bad that if you hear anything you just call me and want to involve me in issues that have nothing to do with me,” he said.

When the reporter pointed out to him that the youths had said the issue was now being dealt with at provincial level, he maintained he knew nothing about it.

“I am in the province, but I haven’t heard anything like that. I only saw it in your newspaper yesterday,” he said.

The chairman of the province Isaac Dakamela said he still had no information on the incident.

“I am yet to ascertain from them (youth) what really happened. I haven’t met anyone on that,’ he said.

The building, which housed a mini-sewing factory, had 15 heavy-duty sewing machines comprising buttonhole, blind-stitch and overlocking machines.
Andrew Manjoro, another youth who was part of the invaders, said in the context of company closures in Bulawayo, they were “deeply concerned by this act of sabotage”.

“As Zanu PF youths of Bulawayo city centre, we are prepared to take over this factory and start working. We are not going back. We are prepared to take this and run it as a viable business. We can manage if we pool our resources together. We were hurt when the VP said Matabeleland people are very lazy,” he said.

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