ZANU PF faction fights played out in the open yesterday when a group of about 30 party youths suspected to be linked to Chitungwiza South MP Christopher Chigumba demolished houses belonging to families aligned to the party’s Ward 18 Councillor Kalisto Masango.
BY TAPIWA ZIVIRA
The two houses, located in Unit L, Seke, Chitungwiza, have been the subject of a court case pitting one Munoda Mararike against Converse Mhlanga and Martin Gurwe, with both parties claiming to have been allocated the same stands under the Zanoremba Housing Co-operative, whose patron is Chigumba.
Watch video below:
The demolitions came hardly a day after the Chitungwiza Community Court issued a default judgment recognising Mararike, a suspected Chigumba ally, as the legitimate owner of both stands.
Chigumba and Masango are believed to belong to different factions fighting for control of the party.
When the NewsDay crew arrived at the sites, both Mhlanga and Gurwe had reportedly gone to Makoni Police Station to make a report.
Mhlanga’s daughter Chenai said: “Immediately after the judgment was passed, we were surprised to see a truckload of youths, armed with picks, shovels and hoes, storming our home. They just started demolishing everything.”
Chenai, who was at home with her seven siblings, said they had to flee to safety and later came back to collect their belongings which were scattered outside with some allegedly looted by the youths.
She said the youths threatened to kill anyone who attempted to stop them.
“They just destroyed everything including the household property,” she said.
Soon after the incident, Masango addressed scores of angry residents who had gathered to witness the incident where he accused Chigumba of being behind the demolitions.
“It pains me that Mararike and the youths he hired who are aligned to the MP (Chigumba) decided to take the law into their hands and destroyed houses. To make it worse, they threatened to destroy my own house because I have stood by these people who have been persecuted all along at the instigation of the MP.”
Masango said he now feared for his life after receiving death threats from Zanu PF members aligned to Chigumba.
The councillor also said he was surprised by the timing of the demolitions which came as Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo had ordered an audit into the illegal land sales in the dormitory where Chigumba has been fingered as behind the double allocation of about 300 stands.
But Chigumba refuted Masango’s accusations, saying he was not involved in the demolitions although he professed knowledge of Mararike’s court case.
He also accused Masango of trying to wrest control of the housing co-operative by misrepresenting to members that he had the powers to allocate stands.
“He (Masango) is the one who illegally allocated his allies stands in the co-operative and now the real owners who have officially allocated stands are now coming to back to claim what belongs to them and what is wrong with that when they have a court order that favours them?” he said.
Last month, Chigumba threatened to evict more than 300 families of Zano Remba Housing Co-operative, accusing them of failing to pay $5 000 each he demanded from beneficiaries in addition to what they had contributed over the years.
Chigumba claimed contributions by members of the co-operative which were made during the Zimdollar era were no longer valid.
Zano Remba Housing Co-operative was formed in 2010 and Chitungwiza South residents claimed they invited Chigumba, who was their MP, to become their patron.